$250 million investment in life changing cancer medicines

23 Jul 2018

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, says a $250 million investment to make four life-changing cancer medicines available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will provide significant financial relief for patients, including those in the New England.


Mr Joyce said the listing of these new medicines from August 1 which treat head and neck cancer, lymphoma, rare blood cancers and a new drug to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy, will save patients thousands of dollars. In some cases the saving for each patient will be more than $130,000 per year.


“The new listings on the PBS will now mean patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners,” Mr Joyce said.


“This will make a profound difference to patients and their families who are facing the daily battle against these cancers which can cost nearly $5,000 per course of treatment and more than $18,000 per year for others.”


Mr Joyce said the Coalition Government’s strong economic management means it is providing Australian patients with access to life-saving and life-changing medicines quicker than ever before.


“We are now making on average one new PBS listing every single day. Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver for Australian patients,” Mr Joyce said.  


Minister for Health Greg Hunt said patients with a type of head and neck cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, who would otherwise pay almost tens of thousands per year for Opdivo, will now have affordable access. The drug is part of the new wave of medicines utilising the body’s immune system to fight cancer.


“For some patients, Opdivo significantly slows the expansion of cancer, extends the patient’s life and in some cases causes remission from the disease” Minister Hunt said. 


The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listings. The Committee is independent of Government by law and in practice. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from PBAC and since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising more than $9 billion worth of new medicines.



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