Major PBS listings to benefit SW lung cancer and cholesterol patients

Federal Member for Forrest, Nola Marino, has welcomed two major new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which have the potential to extend the lives of patients in the south west with advanced lung cancer and those at risk of a heart attack, saving patients up to almost $190,000 a year.

Ms Marino said, “These new listings will help the thousands of Australians and their families fighting lung cancer and the devastating impact of heart disease.”

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and from 1 November, patients with advanced lung cancer will have the treatment Keytruda® subsidised for first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“Without PBS subsidy it would cost over $11,300 per script or $188,000 a year. Patients will now pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners,” Ms Marino said.

“This listing means that for the first time eligible patients with advanced lung cancer can avoid chemotherapy and be treated with this novel immunotherapy treatment Keytruda®. It will benefit around 850 patients a year.”

Keytruda® is an immunotherapy medicine working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them. Clinical trials of Keytruda® for lung cancer has shown that some patients became virtually cancer free after treatment.

The Coalition Government is also listing Repatha® from November 1 for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia, which is a genetic high cholesterol condition.

Ms Marino said, “More than 6,000 people a year with the condition, who are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke at an early age, will benefit from the treatment.”

“Patients would normally pay around $630 a script, or more than $8000 a year. With its listing on the PBS, eligible patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script for Repatha or just $6.40 with a concession card.”

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listings.