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Game Changing Medicines To Save Australian Cancer Patients Up To $150,000

Australians living with non-small cell lung cancer and early stage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia will soon be able to access better treatment, thanks to two significant amendments to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).


From December 1, more than 2,200 patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer will be able to access Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) as a first line treatment in combination with chemotherapy.


Keytruda® belongs to a new class of immunotherapy medicines that supercharges the body’s own immune system to detect and fight cancer cells.


In addition, the existing PBS listing of leukaemia medicine Blincyto® (blinatumomab) will also be expanded on December 1.


Blincyto® will now be available for the treatment of patients in the early stage of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, but have minimal residual disease (MRD). A patient has MRD if they respond well to initial chemotherapy but a small number of cancer cells can still be detected.


The PBS subsidy would save approximately 86 patients up to $150,000 for each course of treatment.


This represents an average of around 30 new or amended PBS listings per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $10.7 billion since 2013.