New hope to treat women with early breast cancer

For the first time in 15-years women with an invasive form of early breast cancer that has a high risk of returning after initial treatment will now have access to an additional medicine thanks to the Albanese Government expanding the listing of abemaciclib (Verzenio®) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

From 1 May 2024, Verzenio will be expanded on the PBS to treat patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-), lymph node positive, invasive, resected early breast cancer at high risk of disease recurrence. Sadly, these women face a one-in-three chance of their cancer coming back despite surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and ongoing hormone therapy. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and each day about 57 Australians are diagnosed.

Early breast cancer is invasive cancer that is contained in the breast and may or may not have spread to lymph nodes in the breast or armpit. HR+, HER2- breast cancer is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for around 70% of all cases. Verzenio works by blocking the action of specific overactive proteins that signal cancer cells to grow. This helps to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. This lifechanging listing is expected to benefit around 2,400 patients per year. Without subsidy, patients may pay $97,000 per course of treatment. The PBS listing of this medicine means eligible patients will pay only a maximum of $31.60 per script, or just $7.70 with a concession card.

Minister Butler said “Every year thousands of Australian women get a lifechanging breast cancer diagnosis.

“The Albanese Government is working hard to ensure each one gets the latest and the best treatment at a price they can afford.

“This listing of Verzenio will benefit thousands of Australian women, and is yet another example of how the Albanese Government is delivering on its promise to provide cheaper medicines.”

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