More than $300million worth of life-changing medicines to treat lung cancer, multiple myeloma and cystic fibrosis will become affordable for patients this year.
The Federal Government has added three medicines to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, giving more than 1000 cancer patients and cystic fibrosis sufferers access to the subsidised medication from January1.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says the revolutionary treatments will finally be in the reach of Australian families.
‘‘Their health, their family, their lives will be different as a result of this,’’ Mr Hunt said.
About 250 people per year will benefit from the listing of alectinib (Alecensa), which treats a form of lung cancer and costs about $188430 per course of treatment without a subsidy.
A further 550 relapsed multiple myeloma patients per year are eligible to access carfilzomib (Kyprolis) for the treatment of a cancer in the plasma cells.
Multiple myeloma, which does not have a cure, can prevent healthy plasma cells from working properly, making the bones weaker and leading to the spread of tumours.
Most multiple myeloma patients relapse and treatment costs $138000 per course.
Now, patients for both cancers will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, while concession card holders pay $6.40.
Changes to the listing of mannitol (Bronchitol) for the treatment of cystic fibrosis means it can be used in combination with other medicines, benefiting about 330 people who would have had to pay $4340 each year.