JMR with Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt

The Morrison Government continues to make important, life changing medicines available to Australians at affordable prices through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including a new treatment for Australians with bowel cancer.

From 1 January 2022, Australians living with an aggressive form of colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) will benefit from the listing of Braftovi® (encorafenib) on the PBS.

It is estimated that more than 15,500 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.

Senator Henderson welcomed the December PBS listings and said many Australians and their families in our local community will be able to access these treatments, reducing their out of pocket costs.

“Our Government has always been committed to ensuring Australians can access the medicines and treatments and our track record with the PBS is reducing medical bills for families,” Senator Henderson said.

“Without this subsidy, patients might pay more than $33,600 per course of treatment, now they will pay as little as $6.80 per script for concession card-holders.”

“The Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.”

Braftovi® will be available for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 variant metastatic colorectal cancer. The BRAF variant is a genetic mutation, which accounts for around 10% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and is detected via genetic testing. Patients with BRAF variant mutation have poor prognosis and current available therapies have limited effectiveness.

Braftovi® will be used in combination with another PBS-listed anti-cancer medicine, cetuximab, and together has the potential to slow down or stop the growth of the cancer and can help some patients survive longer and have a better quality of life.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said this listing will benefit around 340 Australians a year.

“Since 2013, the Coalition Government had approved more than 2,800 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 $14 billion.”

Changes to PBS co‑payment and safety net thresholds come into effect on 1 January each year. The changes are calculated in accordance with the National Health Act 1953 and are indexed based on Consumer Price Index.

The maximum co‑payment in 2022 for general patients will be $42.50 per PBS script and $6.80 per PBS script for concession card-holders.

The safety net threshold for concession card‑holders will be $326.40 per year. When a concession card-holder reaches the Safety Net threshold, they will be eligible for a Safety Net Card and receive PBS medicines free of charge for the rest of 2022.

This listing continues the Coalition Government’s track record of listing all medicines on the PBS recommended by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

12 January 2022

Media contact: Anna Hindson 0490 441 554 anna.hindson@aph.gov.au