27 for can­cer ‘mir­a­cle’ drug

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - ANNIKA SMETHURST

FOR thou­sands of Aus­tralians di­ag­nosed with lung can­cer each year, the prog­no­sis is of­ten grim.

Con­sid­ered Aus­tralia’s most deadly can­cer, it is es­ti­mated that one per­son dies from lung can­cer ev­ery hour, with only 15 per cent of pa­tients still alive five years af­ter di­ag­no­sis.

The Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment will to­day of­fer a life­line to lung can­cer pa­tients by sub­si­dis­ing a mir­a­cle drug, which has the power to dra­mat­i­cally ex­tend the life of sick Aus­tralians.

From Thurs­day, 850 pa­tients with ad­vanced lung can­cer will have cheaper ac­cess to Keytruda, which usu­ally costs $11,300 per script or $188,000 a year.

El­i­gi­ble pa­tients with metastatic non-small cell lung can­cer (NSCLC) will now pay a max­i­mum of about $40 per script or just $6.40 for con­ces­sion card hold­ers.

The im­munother­apy medicine, which works with a pa­tient’s own im­mune sys­tem to de­stroy can­cer cells, is al­ready sub­sidised for clas­si­cal Hodgkin’s lym­phoma and late stage ma­lig­nant me­lanoma.

More than 6000 peo­ple who suf­fer from a ge­netic high choles­terol con­di­tion called fa­mil­ial hy­per­c­holes­tero­laemia will also ben­e­fit from the gov­ern­ment’s medicine cash splash to­day.

On No­vem­ber 1, those pa­tients who are at greater risk of hav­ing a heart at­tack or stroke at an early age will have cheaper ac­cess to the drug Repatha when it is placed on the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Ben­e­fits Scheme.

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