New and expanded PBS listings for breast cancer, leukaemia and lupus treatments

Australians with early breast cancer, leukaemia, and types of lupus, and insomnia, will now have access to new and expanded treatment options under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Hon Ged Kearney MP
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

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Australians with early breast cancer, leukaemia, and types of lupus, and insomnia, will now have access to new and expanded treatment options under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
 
Olaparib (Lynparza®) has been expanded for use for patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-negative) high-risk early breast cancer with specific gene mutations.
 
In Australia, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, with more than two thirds of all patients diagnosed with HER2-negative.
 
Around 300 patients are expected to benefit from this listing each year. Without subsidy, they might pay around $69,000 per course of treatment. 
 
The combination medicine daunorubicin with cytarabine (Vyxeos®) has also been listed to treat two high-risk forms of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
 
Around 5,200 people in Australia are diagnosed with a form of leukaemia each year.
 
The acute myeloid form of leukaemia starts when undeveloped white blood cells become cancerous. Without subsidy, patients might pay around $189,000 per course of treatment with daunorubicin with cytarabine.
 
It is estimated that more than 20,000 people in Australia are affected by lupus, with around 90% being women. Anifrolumab (Saphnelo®) has been listed for the first time to treat the severe systemic form of lupus erythematosus (SLE) in patients with high disease activity despite standard treatment.
 
SLE is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks their own body, causing inflammation and organ damage.
 
Anifrolumab is targeted therapy that blocks the action of specific proteins that are found at high levels in people with lupus. This can reduce inflammation and consequently reduce the symptoms of lupus.
 
The listing is expected to benefit 1,400 patients each year. Without subsidy, they might pay around $19,000 per year of treatment.
 
Children and adolescents with insomnia associated with Smith-Magenis syndrome, a rare genetic developmental disorder that can cause sleep disturbances, will benefit from the new listing of melatonin (Slenyto®) on the PBS.
 
Melatonin works by shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and lengthening the duration of sleep and is expected to benefit about 460 patients and their families each year. Without subsidy, they might pay over $1,800 per year of treatment.
 
The PBS listings of these medicines means eligible patients will pay a maximum of $31.60 per script, or just $7.70 with a concession card.
 
Since July 2022, the Australian Government has approved extra funding for 212 new and amended listings on the PBS.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister Kearney:

“The Albanese Government is making sure Australians have ready and affordable access to the latest treatments. This is a core commitment of our Strengthening Medicare reforms.

“By listing these medicines on the PBS, some for the first time, we’re giving patients and their doctors new options for treatment at an affordable price – with benefits to both people’s health and hip pockets.

“Thousands of Australians living with breast cancer, leukaemia, lupus, and insomnia will now have more treatment choices thanks to the Albanese Government.

“It’s part of our Government’s commitment to keep medicines cheaper for Australians, help ease the cost of living burden on households, and help people live healthier lives, for longer.”

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