Three times more Australians fighting the nation’s leading cause of cancer death may now be eligible to receive the immuno-oncology therapy KEYTRUDA, thanks to a national subsidy announced today.1-3
MSD is joining doctors and lung cancer advocates in welcoming the Federal Health Minister’s announcement that from 1 December, KEYTRUDA will be included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for eligible patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer in combination with chemotherapy regardless of whether they have a biomarker marker called PD-L1. In addition, for the first time, certain patients who have a PD-L1 score of 1 per cent or above will be able to access KEYTRUDA on its own.1,3
Up to 4,000 Australians with lung cancer that has spread throughout the body may be eligible for KEYTRUDA as a result of the new PBS listing. Until now, access to KEYTRUDA on the PBS for advanced lung cancer had been limited to around 1,200 patients with cancer with a high (>50%) expression of PD-L1.1
Professor Michael Boyer from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney, who was involved in recent clinical trials with KEYTRUDA, said “While we still have a long way to go to beat lung cancer, with the PBS listed options now available, patients and clinicians have more treatment options and are far better equipped to treat this cancer.
“We have made tremendous progress in only four years since this type of immuno-oncology therapy was first made available4,” he said.