14/10/2017

Providing affordable access to new treatment for leukaemia and lymphoma

Leukaemia and lymphoma patients in Wide Bay will soon benefit from affordable access to a new medicine, through a Coalition Government Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) drug subsidy.

 Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said from 1 December 2017, it will cost a maximum of $38.80 per treatment of Ibrutinib (sold as Imbruvica®) and just $6.30 for concessional patients.

Ibrutinib normally costs $187,390 on average per course of treatment, putting it beyond the reach of most patients.

This $466 million listing on the PBS will save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by adding around $7.5 billion worth of medicines to the PBS and the announcement today is further support for patients that need it.”

“This new treatment will provide much needed support to patients who don’t respond to other initial treatments,” Mr O’Brien said. 

The drug will be available to eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

Ibrutinib is used when CLL or SLL has progressed or has not responded to first line treatment with chemo-immuno-therapy.  It is significantly more effective than the treatments currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“The Coalition Government is guaranteeing Medicare and continuing to make medicines available and affordable for Australians who need them.

“More than 60 new cancer medicines or amended listings have been approved by the Coalition Government since October 2013. This includes new treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer, melanoma, advanced breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

“One in every six dollars of PBS expenditure is now being directed to cancer medicines.”