From 1 September 2022, Australians will have access to new and expanded medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including treatments for ovarian cancer, leukaemia, chronic kidney disease and spinal muscular atrophy in children.
Niraparib (Zejula®) will be listed for the first time to treat ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer. Zejula is a once-daily oral treatment that works by stopping proteins in the body from repairing ovarian cancer cells.
Due to non-specific symptoms and a lack of accurate testing to identify the disease early, most women are diagnosed when ovarian cancer is advanced with limited treatment options available.
Ovarian cancer survival rate remains significantly low. Tragically, almost 1 in 2 (48%) will lose their fight in 5 years.
Without this subsidy, families would pay more than $130,000 per course of treatment.
300 vulnerable women every year could benefit from this treatment.
Gilteritinib (Xospata®) will be listed for the first time on the PBS to treat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
AML is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow where the bone marrow makes immature cancerous white blood cells in high numbers. These abnormal cells don’t carry out the usual infection-fighting role of white blood cells and crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from making normal blood cells.
Around 150 patients per year could benefit from this listing.
Without subsidy, Australians would pay more than $146,800 per course of treatment.
The Government will also expand the PBS listing of dapagliflozin (Forxiga®) to include the treatment of chronic kidney disease.
In 2020, chronic kidney disease contributed to around 17,700 deaths and this listing is vitally important to support treatment that improves the lives of individuals and their families.
An average of 45,000 Australians could benefit from this listing each year.
Without subsidy, patients might pay more than $700 per year for dapagliflozin.
The PBS listing of nusinersen (Spinraza®) will be expanded to include treatment of all paediatric patients with Type III spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), including Type IIIb SMA.
SMA is a rare genetic neuromuscular condition which causes progressive muscle wasting (atrophy) and weakness leading to loss of movement. The SMA gene is carried by approximately one in 35 Australians, but most are unaware.
This expanded listing is expected to benefit a further seven children and their families each year. Without the subsidy, families would pay well over $300,000 per year for this treatment.
Rituximab, an established biological medicine used for the treatment of a number of autoimmune conditions and types of cancer, will be listed as an unrestricted benefit. This means that any patient who is prescribed this medicine will have PBS subsidised access to it.
Through the PBS, these treatments will now cost just $42.50 per script, or $6.80 with a concession card.
A full list of 1 September changes can be found at pbs.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring Australians have access to affordable medicines by listing the medicines recommended by the independent experts on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).
“These updates to the PBS will improve the lives for Australians who suffer from ovarian cancer, leukaemia, chronic kidney disease and spinal muscular atrophy in children.
“These are remarkable medications that without government support would be unaffordable for thousands of Australians diagnosed with these conditions.
“The Albanese Government is committed to expanding the PBS, and will continue to list new medicines, or expand PBS listings where recommended."