Patients with advanced skin cancer will soon have affordable access to a promising new immune-based treatment, following its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Federal Government will invest $57 million to list breakthrough drug Keytruda on the PBS, to improve the lives of more than 1,000 patients.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said the drug currently cost patients $150,000 a year, but they would now pay about $38, or just over $6 for those on concession.
She said the drug had passed through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and would be available from September, providing an important lifeline to more than 1,100 Australians with melanoma.
“General patients will pay $37.70 a treatment, and concessional patients just $6.10, so by listing a medicine on the PBS we absolutely bring it within the range of affordability for every single Australian,” Ms Ley said.
Oncologist Professor Grant McArthur, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said Australia had the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and added that the drug was “revolutionary”.
“Australians will be amongst the first in the world to get access to this new treatment,” he said.
“The listing of Keytruda on the PBS shows us what can happen when everyone works together to get these drugs listed quickly – so that’s patients, industry, clinicians, researchers and government – if we work together we can speed up access to cancer drugs.” …read more.[hr] Image: Professor Grant McArthur from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (left) and Ron Walker (right). Credit: ABC News: Justine Longmore