Breast Cancer Network Australia has praised the federal government decision to list the drug Verzenio on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
CEO Kirsten Pilatti says the government is doing everything within its power to get access to all Australians.
Patients could be expected to pay up to $55,500 a year to access this medicine. As a result of this listing on the PBS, they will now only pay $41 per script, or, for concessional patients, just $6.60 per script.
The BCNA represents some 130,000 people living with breast cancer. The Port Macquarie Breast Cancer Support Group hosts the annual mini field of women each September at the library.
"That's our job, to make sure we are the voice for these Australians and we work for everyone to ensure they can access the best help possible," she said.
"This drug is an additional benefit to those eligible women living with metastatic breast cancer - a terminal breast cancer - to support them in adding months to their life.
"We are seeing more women living with, rather than dying from, metastatic breast cancer.
"One of the challenges for the health system is more targetted therapies which can be more costly. But we know (these drugs) provide significant improvement to the number of months and quality of life for those women and men who are taking them," she said.
"This drug is taken in tablet form which means that patients can continue to work while in treatment. It also has reduced side effects."
Patients can sometimes be forced to put their house on the market, dip into their superannuation or ask family and friends for money to help cover the costs of drugs not on the PBS.
Ms Pilatti said the addition of this and other drugs on the PBS ensures people living with a terminal disease can spend their money more appropriately.
While the CEO praised the federal government - and health minister Greg Hunt - for getting high cost drugs onto the PBS she said there were other avenues the BCNA is continuing to pursue.
This drug is taken in tablet form which means that patients can continue to work while in treatment. It also has reduced side effects.Kirsten Pilatti
"We are applying pressure on the pharmaceutical companies to prepare their applications for those women and men who are currently not eligible for this new drug because they had have other treatments," she said.
Federal member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie says Verzenio® (abemaciclib) treat non-premenopausal patients with advanced hormone receptor positive human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative breast cancer.
"It is estimated more than 19,000 women and 160 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia in 2020," he said.
"Australia has one of the highest survival rates for breast cancer in the world, with the five-year survival rate at almost 91 per cent.
"The bravery and determination of so many Australian breast cancer patients inspires our own determination to list these life-changing medicines, and see that survival rate grow."
Since 2013, the government has approved close to 2300 new or amended listings on the PBS. This represents an average of about 30 new or amended PBS listings per month - or one each day - at an overall investment by the Government of $10.9 billion since 2013.
We are able to provide unprecedented levels of support to health and medical research because of our strong economic management, he said.
Mr Hunt said Verzenio will be a new treatment option for approximately 3000 patients with this type of breast cancer.
"We know the devastating impact breast cancer has on Australian women and men, their families and their communities," Mr Hunt said.
"The federal coalition government is committed to supporting all breast cancer patients, with the hope they may overcome this horrible disease and continue leading a full and healthy life."
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