New Treatment for Cancer Approved For PBS Listing

Pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from November 1.

Page last updated: 16 September 2014

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16 September 2014

Pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from November 1.

The Australian Government has committed over $92 million over four years to subsidise Abraxane on the PBS.

Pancreatic cancer is highly aggressive with very few treatment options.

Health Minister Peter Dutton said more than 1,500 patients would benefit each year from the PBS listing.

“This listing provides patients with a new treatment option that has demonstrated an increase in overall survival by around two months, compared to other treatments,” he said

Without the PBS listing of this medicine patients would face an average cost of $16,000 for a course of treatment, at an average cost of $1,300 per script. Once listed on the PBS that script will cost a concessional patient only $6.00.

At an average cost of $16,000 per treatment it is easy to see why listings such as this have seen the cost of the PBS go up a staggering 80 per cent over the past decade.

The Government needs to ensure that the PBS is managed in a fiscally responsible way, so that the Australian community has access to new, innovative and affordable medicines now and into the future, because without PBS subsidy these new drugs are out of reach of most Australians.

The listing of nanoparticle albumin bound paclitaxel (AbraxaneŽ) was recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in March and the details were agreed with the pharmaceutical company in July. It has now received approval from Cabinet.

“Following agreement of pricing and listing arrangements with the pharmaceutical company, the Government has taken less than two months to consider the listing, making it one of the fastest listing approvals for a high cost medicine in recent years,” Mr Dutton said.

“This demonstrates that, when the pharmaceutical companies and Government work closely together, important medicines can be made available quickly and at affordable prices.”

The Commonwealth spends more than $9 billion annually to fund existing items on the PBS, with one in every eight dollars now spent on cancer treatment.

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

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

For more information, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220

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