From 1 October 2023, Australians with cervical cancer, urothelial cancer and spinal muscular atrophy will have access to new or expanded treatment options through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) will be expanded on the PBS to treat patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer.
In 2022, it is estimated more than 900 Australian women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. People with cervical cancer have a 74 per cent chance of surviving five years after diagnosis, but this is drastically reduced for persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.
About 270 women each year will benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, they might pay around $137,000 per course of treatment.
Enfortumab vedotin (Padcev®) will be listed for the first time to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer whose disease has progressed even after therapy.
About 3,000 Australians are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year, and it is more common in people aged over 60 years and in men. Urothelial cancer is the most common form of bladder cancer. Advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer is unlikely to be cured, but treatment may slow down its growth.
About 490 Australians will benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, patients and their families might pay over $53,000 per course of treatment.
Risdiplam (Evrysdi®) will be expanded on the PBS to treat more patients with spinal muscular atrophy, including adult patients who had symptoms before they turned 19 years and had no prior treatment during childhood, as well as for children and infants genetically diagnosed with the most severe types of spinal muscular atrophy before the onset of symptoms (pre-symptomatic treatment).
About 130 infants, children and adults will benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, patients and their families could pay well over $300,000 per year of treatment.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Access to life-changing medicines like these should not depend on whether people can afford them.
“Being listed on the PBS means these drugs will now cost no more than $30 per prescription instead of thousands of dollars, ensuring they are within reach for hundreds of Australians.
“The Albanese Government is continuing to make medicines cheaper for Australians to ensure people can access them, regardless of their circumstances or bank balance.”