New drug listing treats rare life-threatening lung cancer

The Abbott Government will invest $60 million listing a new drug to treat a rare life-threatening form of lung cancer that would otherwise cost patients over $80,000 per treatment without taxpayer subsidies.

Page last updated: 31 May 2015

PDF printable version of New drug listing treats rare life-threatening lung cancer (PDF 413 KB)

Minister for Health Sussan Ley today announced on World No Tobacco Day 2015 that Crizotinib would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) from July 1 through a Managed Entry Scheme that would speed up access for patients with the highest need for treatment.

Today’s listing comes as fresh figures show the Abbott Government has now more-than-doubled the number of new and amended drug listings on the PBS to 667 – worth a total of almost $3 billion since September 2013 – when compared to Labor’s 331 listings during their last three-year term in office

This includes $1.3 billion worth of new life-saving drug listings in the budget to help treat melanoma, breast cancer, blindness and the debilitating shingles virus.

Ms Ley said today’s listing was another example of the Abbott Government delivering on its promise to list new medicines and showed the important benefits of the Government’s proposed PBS reforms.

“Access to new medicines is crucial if we’re to help Australians beat life-threatening diseases such as cancer, as well as overcome chronic and degenerative conditions that can rob them of their independence,” Ms Ley said.

“This $60 million investment will deliver affordable access to patients who would otherwise pay up to $80,000 per treatment to beat this rare and life-threating form of lung cancer.

“The Abbott Government has already listed double the number of drugs compared to Labor’s last term in office and in half the time, and that investment is only going to continue to grow.

“In fact, one in every six dollars out of the $10 billion taxpayers invest in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme every year is now spent on cancer treatments.

“However, meeting community expectations that new drugs will be listed quickly also comes at a significant cost, with taxpayers expected to invest $50 billion making medicines more affordable for patients over the next five years alone.

“That’s why the Abbott Government has proposed a balanced plan for reform that will ensure spending on existing medicines is as efficient as possible so we can fund new life-saving drugs as well.

Ms Ley said Crizotinib (XalkoriŽ) was used to treat anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer and would benefit approximately 154 patients with the rare life-threatening disease.

Ms Ley said introducing Crizotinib via a Managed Entry Scheme was a sensible way to provide early access to new breakthrough drugs patients with a high clinical need for treatment, whilst allowing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to monitor its progress and collect data about the ongoing clinical benefits of this medicine to ensure it continued to deliver on what it promised.

“There are very few effective therapeutic options available for patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer and this will be the first treatment available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that specifically targets patients with ALK gene rearrangement,” Ms Ley said.

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

Details of the listings will be published in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, which is updated monthly and accessible through the PBS website.

10 Key Examples of Medicines Listed by the Abbott Government since its Election in Sept 2013
***listed in order of cost per patient***

  1. Soliris (2014) – Atypical Haemolytic-Uraemic Syndrome (rare immune disease) – $63 million – $500,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  2. Kayldeco (2014) – Cystic Fibrosis – $174 million – $300,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  3. Mekinist (2015) – Melanoma – $437 million – $131,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  4. Adcetris (2014) – Lymphoma – $15.2 million – over $110,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  5. Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla (2015) – Breast Cancer – $191 million combined – $82,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  6. Crizotinib (2015) – Lung Cancer – $60 million – $80,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS (announced today)
  7. Lemtrada (2015) – Relapsing, Remitting Multiple Sclerosis – $50 million – $70,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  8. Afinitor (2014) – Kidney Cancer – $45.1 million – $35,680 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  9. Abraxane (2014) – Pancreatic Cancer – $92 million – $16,000 per patient if not subsidised through the PBS
  10. 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.

View by date:

Top of Page