Leukaemia and lymphoma patients in the Northern Territory will benefit from affordable access to a new medicine, with the Coalition Government subsidising the drug.
Ibrutinib (sold as Imbruvica®) would normally cost $187,390 on average per course of treatment, putting it beyond the reach of most patients.
This $466 million listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said from 1 December 2017, it will cost a maximum of $38.80 per treatment and just $6.30 for concessional patients.
“Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by adding around $7.5 billion worth of medicines to the PBS and the announcement today is further support for patients that need it.”
“This new treatment will provide much needed support to patients who don’t respond to other initial treatments,” Senator Scullion said.
The drug will be available to eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).
Ibrutinib is used when CLL or SLL has progressed or has not responded to first line treatment with chemo-immuno-therapy.
It is significantly more effective than the treatments currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Turnbull Government is guaranteeing Medicare and continuing to make medicines available and affordable for Australians who need them.
“More than 60 new cancer medicines or amended listings have been approved by the Coalition Government since October 2013,” Minister Hunt said.
“This includes new treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer, melanoma, advanced breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.”
“We are now spending one in every six dollars of PBS expenditure on cancer medicines.”