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Delivering greater support for breast cancer treatment

JMR with Minister for Health Greg Hunt

The Morrison Government is helping improve access to an important treatment for Australians battling a form of breast cancer with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of Verzenio® (abemaciclib) will be expanded for use in combination with fulvestrant from 1 November 2021.

The treatment will be accessible for non-premenopausal breast cancer patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) inoperable locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Verzenio® works by inhibiting two proteins that drive the growth of tumour cells and when used in combination with fulvestrant can slow the progression of breast cancers in some patients.

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with 1 in 7 women diagnosed in their lifetime.

“55 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer every day and our Government is working to ensure that patients across the country, can access the treatments and medicines they need, when they need it,” Senator Henderson said.

“This just shows that the Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the expanded PBS listing will benefit around 1,600 Australians and their families each year.

“Without this PBS subsidy Australian patients would pay around $80,000 per course of treatment, instead they’ll only pay $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card for these medicines,” Minister Hunt said.

“This listing will help improve the lives of many Australians and their families, ensuring they can access the treatment they need and while also reducing their out of pocket costs.”

In April 2021, the Government expanded the listing of Kisqali® (ribociclib) for use in combination with fulvestrant on the PBS for this patient group, this new further treatment option gives hope to more Australians battling breast cancer by providing access to a choice of treatments.

Since 2013, the Coalition Government had approved more than 2,700 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 $13.8 billion.

These PBS listings have been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

27 October 2021

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