Access to breast cancer treatment provides new hope

The PBS listing of treatment Verzenio (abemaciclib) will be expanded for use in combination with fulvestrant from 1 November, providing another affordable option to breast cancer patients.

“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,” says Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with approximately 55 Australians diagnosed every day. One in seven women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The expanded PBS listing will benefit around 1,600 Australians and their families each year.

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.

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

In April this year, the listing of Kisqali (ribociclib) was also expanded 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.

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