Member for New England Barnaby Joyce, said a new Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing for those suffering advanced lung cancer and those at risk of a heart attack has the potential to extend the lives of local patients and save them almost $190,000 a year in medication.
“We have some first-class health facilities and staff here in the New England providing immediate care and these new listings will help the thousands of Australians and their families fighting lung cancer and the devastating impact of heart disease,” Mr Joyce said.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and patients with advanced lung cancer will now have the treatment Keytruda® subsidised for first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“Without PBS subsidy it would cost more than $11,300 per script or $188,000 a year but patients will now pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners,” Mr Joyce said.
“It means that for the first time patients in the New England can avoid chemotherapy and be treated with this novel immunotherapy treatment.”
Keytruda® is an immunotherapy medicine working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them. Clinical trials for lung cancer has shown that some patients became virtually cancer free after treatment.
This medicine is already listed on the PBS for classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma.
The Liberal-National Government has also listed Repatha® for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia, which is a genetic high cholesterol condition.
Mr Joyce 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 $8,000 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.”
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said, “Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising almost $10 billion worth of new medicines, and we are now making on average one new or amended PBS listing every day.”
Lung Cancer Awareness Month provides an opportunity to raise community awareness of lung cancer. For further details, click here.