The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended that the Australian government subsidise the drug Abraxane for treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic patients, supported by health professionals, have for some time sought correction of the anomaly that Abraxane was subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for metastatic breast cancer but not pancreatic cancer.
The drug was developed by Specialised Therapeutics Australia, a major sponsor of the GI Cancer Institute.
In the posting of the approval recommendation on the Department of Health website, the company says “STA is very pleased that an in principle agreement has been achieved with the Department of Health, subject to final Cabinet approval.”
Federal Cabinet is expected to formally approve the drug and announce a date for its listing on the PBS.
Monash University Professor John Zalcberg (pictured), past Chairman of the GI Cancer Institute and AGITG, has urged Cabinet to give speedy approval so that clinicians can start to treat pancreatic patients with it.
If approved, PBS subsidy will reduce the price of the medication from $5000 a month to just $36.10.