Date published: 
19 February 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

Australians with non-small cell and small cell lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will benefit from new and expanded treatment options on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 March 2020.

The Morrison Government is listing Imfinzi® (durvalumab) for the first time for the treatment of non‑small cell lung cancer for patients who have not progressed after chemoradiation.

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 80 per cent of cases. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia.

Imfinzi® is a monoclonal antibody and works with the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

More than 1,300 patients per year are expected to benefit from the listing of Imfinzi®. Without PBS subsidy, patients might otherwise pay more than $100,000 per course of treatment.

The Government is expanding the PBS listing of Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) to be used in combination with a platinum-based chemotherapy and etoposide for the treatment of small cell lung cancer.

Around 1,000 patients per year are expected to benefit from this listing. Without PBS subsidy, patients might otherwise pay more than $50,900 per course of treatment.

The Government is also expanding the PBS listing of Trelegy® Ellipta® (fluticasone furoate with umeclidinium and vilanterol) for the treatment of COPD, to broaden subsidised access to this medicine on the PBS.

COPD symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and chest discomfort.

Trelegy® Ellipta® will assist people with breathing difficulties and help improve their lives.

Without PBS subsidy, patients might otherwise pay more than $1,170 per year for treatment. It is estimated that more than 16,000 patients per year could access this medicine.

Each of these listings has been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Unlike Labor, we are listing all medicines recommended by the medical experts on the PBAC. In 2011, Labor stopped listing medicines on the PBS because they could not manage the economy.

Since 2013, the Australian Government has listed more than 2,300 new or amended listings on the PBS.

This represents an average of around 30 listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $10.9 billion.

The Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.

Ministers: