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Major PBS listings to benefit Durack lung cancer and cholesterol patients

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and two more major new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), have the potential to extend the lives of patients in the Durack electorate with advanced lung cancer and those at risk of a heart attack, saving patients up to almost $190,000 a year.

Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price welcomed the initiative on the back of the recently announced subsidised medications Ozurdex® and Lucentis® for a range of eye conditions.

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

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,” said Minister Price

“This listing means that for the first time eligible patients in Durack 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.

This medicine is already listed on the PBS for classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma.

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

Minister Price 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.”

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said, “Our Government’s strong economic management means we are providing Australian patients with access to life-saving and life-changing medicines quicker than ever before.”

“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 single day. Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver for Australian patients,” 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.

Minister Hunt said, “Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the independent medical experts.”

“In the Budget we announced our commitment to invest $2.4 billion in new medicines to build on our commitment to guarantee those essential services that all Australians rely on.”

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

Lung Cancer Awareness Month provides an opportunity to raise community awareness of lung cancer. For further details visit https://canceraustralia.gov.au/healthy-living/campaigns-events/lung-cancer-awareness-month

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