PBS listings for lung cancer and cholesterol patients

Two new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) have the potential to extend the lives of Australians with advanced lung cancer and those at risk of a heart attack.


November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and from 1 November patients with advanced lung cancer will have the treatment Keytruda® subsidised for first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Without PBS subsidy it would cost over $11,300 per script or $188,000 a year. Patient will now pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners, saving patients up to nearly $190,000 a year.


This listing means that for the first time eligible patients with advanced lung cancer can avoid chemotherapy and be treated with this novel immunotherapy treatment Keytruda®. It will benefit around 850 patients a year.


Keytruda® is an immunotherapy medicine working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them. Clinical trials of Keytruda® for lung cancer has shown that some patients became virtually cancer free after treatment.


The Government is also listing Repatha® from 1 November for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia, which is a genetic high cholesterol condition.


More than 6,000 people with the condition, who are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke at an early age, will benefit from the treatment.


Patients would normally pay around $630 a script, or more than $8000 a year. With its listing on the PBS, eligible patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script for Repatha or just $6.40 with a concession card.


The listing was authorised by Mr Greg Hunt, Minister for Health.


29 October 2018.