$250 million investment in life changing cancer medicines which will benefit patients on the Central Coast

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Coalition Government will invest $250 million to make four life-changing cancer medicines available to patients from August 1.

Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks said the Coalition Government is providing Australian patients with access to life-saving and life-changing medicines quicker than ever before.

“Listing of these new medicines will save patients thousands of dollars, in some cases the saving for each patient will be over $130,000 per year,” Mrs Wicks said. 

“The new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will now mean patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners. 

“This will make a significant difference to patients and to the families of patients that are battling against cancer on the Coast.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said almost 1,000 patients with a type of head and neck cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, which would otherwise pay almost tens of thousands per year for Opdivo, will now have affordable access.

“For some patients, Opdivo significantly slows the expansion of cancer, extends the patient’s life and in some cases causes remission from the disease” Minister Hunt said. 

“Around 220 patients with a subtype of lymphoma cancer, relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, will benefit from the listing of Imbruvica, as patients would otherwise pay $134,000 for a year’s treatment. Imbruvica works by targeting, reducing and in some cases killing cancerous cells.”

“More than 1,500 patients who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment will benefit from Neulasta which helps the body to make new neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.”

“Chemotherapy sometimes damages and depletes neutrophils and Neulasta aims to prevent this condition, helping the patient to fight off infection by creating new white blood cells which in turn helps manage the side effects of chemotherapy and allow patients to stick to their treatment regime.”

“Around 1,125 patients with rare types of leukaemia cancer, myeloproliferative neoplasms, would otherwise pay more than $18,000 per year, will now benefit from the listing of Pegasys.”

The medicine strengthens the body’s immune system to fight infections and diseases.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listings announced today.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising more than $9 billion worth of new medicines.

“Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the independent medical experts” Minister Hunt said.   

“In the Budget we announced our commitment to invest $2.4 billion in new medicines to build on our commitment to guarantee those essential services that all Australians rely on.”

Making things happen for Robertson

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