New drug listing Keytruda to treat melanoma

The Commonwealth Government will invest $57 million to list breakthrough melanoma drug Keytruda® on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Page last updated: 28 June 2015

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Joint Press Release


THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MP, PRIME MINISTER
THE HON. SUSSAN LEY MP, MINISTER FOR HEALTH


28th June 2015

The Commonwealth Government will invest $57 million to list breakthrough melanoma drug Keytruda® on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This will improve quality of life for 1,100 Australian patients and make the $150,000 per year treatment affordable.

The listing follows passage of the Government’s PBS reform package through the Senate last week and delivers on our promise to list new medicines as quickly as possible.

It complements $1.3 billion from the 2015/16 Budget for other melanoma medicines as well as drugs to treat breast cancer, blindness and shingles.

Treatment using pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) currently costs patients with metastatic melanoma up to $156,130 per year without taxpayer subsidy through the PBS.

Patients will now pay $6.10 if they are concessional patients or $37.70 for general patients.

Since coming to office, the Commonwealth has now approved 667 new and amended listings to the PBS, with a benefit of almost $3 billion to Australian patients.

This compares with only 331 new listings in Labor’s final term.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the importance of ensuring that spending on existing drugs is as efficient as possible, so breakthrough medicines like Keytruda® can continue to be listed.

Treatment will be made available on the PBS from 1 September, 2015.

All PBS listings are subject to final arrangements being agreed with suppliers of the medicine, including risk share arrangements.

Since coming to office in September 2013, the Commonwealth has listed the following medicines, among others, on the PBS:
    • Soliris (2014) – Atypical Haemolytic-Uraemic Syndrome (rare immune disease) – $63 million – $500,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Kayldeco (2014) – Cystic Fibrosis – $174 million – $300,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Mekinist (2015) – BRAF-positive Metastatic Melanoma – $437 million – $131,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Adcetris (2014) – Lymphoma – $15.2 million – over $110,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla (2015) – Breast Cancer – $191 million combined – $82,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Crizotinib (2015) – Lung Cancer – $60 million – $80,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Lemtrada (2015) – Relapsing, Remitting Multiple Sclerosis – $50 million – $70,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Abraxane (2014) – Pancreatic Cancer – $92 million – $16,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
    • Lucentis (2015) – Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) and Diabetic Macular Oedema (DME) (blindness) – $541 million – $10,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS

Listing these medicines on the PBS means patients pay just the PBS co-payment, with taxpayers covering the difference in the cost of treatment. For example, a patient using Soliris – which costs $500,000 per patient – now pays just $6.10 if they are a concession card holder or $37.70 if they are a general patient as a result of the drug being listed on the taxpayer-funded PBS.


28 June 2015

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