Transcript of Doorstop in Adelaide

Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's doorstop in Adelaide regarding CAR-T leukaemia treatment and action on silicosis.

Page last updated: 12 October 2018

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12 October 2018

E&OE…

Topics: CAR-T leukaemia treatment; Action on silicosis

GREG HUNT:
Today’s been a breakthrough day for patients with leukaemia. Australia now has the prospect of helping lead the world with a new treatment called CAR-T which cannot just keep patients going, but can potentially cure them.

With the support of the states and territories, we want Australia to be a home for CAR-T treatment. This is about taking the T cells out of the body, supercharging them and returning them to help fight and kills cancer.

It’s not all going to happen overnight but we have the prospect of saving lives and protecting lives and I want to thank and honour all of the Ministers for agreeing to make Australia a global destination.

It’s also been a critical day for patients with silicosis. What we see is an emerging incidence of patients, in particular who have been working on stone cutting. We have committed to immediately write to Safe Work Australia to ensure that standards are put in place and that there is a review of the existing state-based laws and standards. And we are also requesting that consideration be immediately done by our leading medical groups towards a national registry for patients with silicosis.

JOURNALIST:
On the leukaemia treatment, what’s the next step? What needs to happen before that can be happening in Australia?

GREG HUNT:
Within the next month the Medical Services Advisory Committee will be examining the safety and effectiveness of CAR-T treatment. The early signs are very good. They will make their decision but if they approve it, and if the Therapeutic Goods Administration approves it, we will work with the states and territories to bring the leading treating companies in the world to Australia. It’s a partnership to help save lives and protect lives.

JOURNALIST:
So what needs to be done to see this therapy as a standard of care in Australia, as it is overseas?

GREG HUNT:
Two things have to occur. One, there has to be an approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Two, there has to be an approval by the Medical Services Advisory Committee.

Both are underway now. The advice is very positive but they still have to do all of their assessments. But if they approve it, we will implement it.

JOURNALIST:
How is funding for this therapy progressing? (inaudible)

GREG HUNT:
Look, this was the subject of today’s discussion and I think what you see is we have a partnership between the Commonwealth and the states to ensure that if this therapy is approved, the patients that need it can get it. And that ultimately means that patients with leukaemia now, and potentially in the future with lymphoma and melanoma, not just a treatment, but a cure.

JOURNALIST:
How far off do you think access is for Australians?

GREG HUNT:
Look I won’t pre-empt the timing of the medical authorities but my job is to help them to produce this outcome as soon as possible.

JOURNALIST:
And on the silicosis issue again, obviously this is a popular style of kitchen that a lot of Australians want. This has been an affordable option. But how vital is it that we stamp it out and quickly given the impact it is having?

GREG HUNT:
Well we have to move quickly because we have to protect patients and we have to protect families. So our approach is very clear. Our approach is to immediately write to the Safe Work Australia and to get the medical experts working on a national registry. These two things are the critical steps and we have taken them with the support of the states and territories today.

JOURNALIST:
Just briefly on another matter, Bill Shorten has said today that Labor will also move to fast track the companies, medium business company tax cuts that the Liberal Government had already announced. What’s your reaction to that?

GREG HUNT:
Well if they were to do that, that would be welcome. Because our goal is very simple. That is to help make Australian small and family businesses more competitive, to employ more people, to be able to invest more and therefore to give people a better standard of living and a better prospect of long-term, stable employment.

Thank you very much.

(ENDS)

Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.

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