Landmark PBS medicines listings to provide hope for thousands of Australians

There is new hope for thousands of Australians living with breast cancer, lung cancer, osteoporosis and asthma with landmark new and amended medicines listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April.

Breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in Australia and the second most common cause of death from cancer among women. In 2020, it was estimated that over 19,900 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed.

From 1 April, Kisqali® (ribociclib) is having its listing expanded on the PBS to be used in combination with Fulvestrant Sandoz® (fulvestrant) for patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) unresectable advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Without the PBS subsidy, around 1,600 patients might pay more than $50,000 per course of treatment. Instead they will now pay $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card.

Fulvestrant Sandoz® (fulvestrant) is also being made available on the PBS for the first time as monotherapy for those women in need of this targeted treatment on its own, for the treatment of hormone receptor positive (HR+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) advanced breast cancer.

Without the PBS subsidy, over 100 patients might pay more than $7,900 per course of treatment.

Lung cancer is also one of the top 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia.

To support over 130 Australians with previously untreated squamous Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, we are extending the listings for Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Yervoy® (ipilimumab) plus chemotherapy. Patients could otherwise pay over $100,000 per course of treatment without subsidy.

Around 2.7 million Australians live with asthma with many of them suffering from severe asthma. They experience episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness and fatigue caused by the widespread narrowing of the airways.

We are extending the listing for Dupixent® (dupilumab) which will provide a new treatment option to around 1,700 Australians suffering from uncontrolled severe eosinophilic or allergic asthma per year. Australians with these severe forms of Asthma will save around $20,600 per year through this PBS listing.

Atectura Breezhaler® (indacaterol + glycopyronum + mometasone), will provide a new treatment option for other severe forms of asthma for over 80,000 Australians suffering from this chronic disease with patients saving around $400 per year through this PBS listing.

We are also listing Evenity® (Romosozumab) on the PBS for the first time, for the treatment of severe osteoporosis in patients, providing relief to over 2,800 Australians. Patients may save around $6,300 per course of treatment.

Without these subsidies many Australians would be out of pocket thousands of dollars per treatment, instead, for all of the medicines listed or extended on April 1, patients will only have to pay $41.30 per script of $6.60 with a concession card.

Each of these listings has been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Since 2013, the Australian Government has approved over 2,600 new or amended listings on the PBS. This represents an average of around 30 listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $13 billion.

The Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.

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