It has been announced that from 1 July 2021, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be further expanded to include Opdivo and Yervoy (nivolumab and ipilimumab), which are used in the treatment of patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma.
When used in combination, Opdivo and Yervoy helps the immune system to attack and destroy the cancer cells.
It’s said that more than 700 patients a year will benefit from this listing. Without PBS subsidy, patients might pay more than $130,000 per course of treatment for this medicine.
The Government is also reportedly expanding the listing of Kuvan (sapropterin) on the PBS to include treatment of maternal phenylketonuria (MPKU).
This medicine works in combination with dietary restrictions, to help lower the amount of amino acid phenylalanine in the blood.
Kuvan reduces phenylalanine in the blood of people with phenylketonuria. Elevated levels can cause abnormal mental and physical development.
Without proper treatment this condition can lead to problems with brain development and cause intellectual disability, difficulties with attention, and psychiatric disorders like anxiety or depression.
Reportedly, around 30 patients each year will benefit from access to this treatment option. Without PBS subsidy, patients might pay over $215,000 per course of treatment.
With the PBS listing expansion, the Government statement states these treatments will now be available for as little as $41.30 per script, or just $6.60 for patients with a concession card.
Each of these listings has reportedly been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.