Greg Hunt

Federal Member for Flinders | Minister for Health

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More than $300 million for new life-changing medicines

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Around 800 Australians each year suffering from lung cancer and relapsed refractory multiple myeloma will benefit from affordable access to new medicines from 1 January 2018.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. This can prevent healthy plasma cells from working the way they should, making the bones weaker and leading to the spread of tumours in the bones.

Relapsed multiple myeloma is when the cancer returns after treatment or a period of remission. Since multiple myeloma does not have a cure, most patients with multiple myeloma will relapse.

We are providing affordable access to carfilzomib (Kyprolis®) – which works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and helps boost survival rates for patients. 

Around 550 patients are expected to benefit each year. Normally patients would pay around $138,800 per course of treatment.  

We’re also listing alectinib (Alecensa®) for the treatment of anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive non-small cell lung cancer. 

Alectinib works by targeting and blocking receptors found on the cancer cells. In some cancers, these receptors are overactive, causing cells to grow and divide too fast. This medication inhibits these receptors to slow or stop tumour growth.

Approximately 250 eligible patients per year will benefit from the listing of this medicine, which would otherwise cost around $188,430 per course of treatment.

For many Australians these medications would have been out of reach – until now.

Listing these medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) means that patients will pay only a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients paying just $6.40.

There will also be changes to the listing of mannitol (Bronchitol®) from 1 January 2018 to allow it to be used in combination with other medicines for cystic fibrosis.  

Without subsidised access, approximately 330 eligible patients would pay around $4,340 each year. 

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has added around $7.7 billion worth of medicines to the PBS.  

Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. 

Labor delayed the listing of seven vital drugs – leaving important medicines out of reach for many Australian patients.

Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system. 

PBS listings are published on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, which is available through the PBS website at www.pbs.gov.au.

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Electorate Office
Unit 1/49 Eramosa Road West
Somerville, Victoria, 3912

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© Greg Hunt MP 2016 | Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Member for Flinders, Somerville, Victoria
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