Life­saver costs less

Cheaper medicine for lym­phoma suf­fer­ers

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - AN­NIKA SMETHURST

PA­TIENTS bat­tling Hodgkin’s lym­phoma, the same blood can­cer that struck pop star Delta Goodrem, will have cheaper ac­cess to a life­sav­ing can­cer drug that pre­vi­ously cost $200,000.

While 85 per cent of Hodgkin’s lym­phoma suf­fer­ers are cured with chemo­ther­apy, pa­tients who re­lapse or those who can­not un­dergo nor­mal chemo­ther­apy are pre­scribed the im­munother­apy medicine Keytruda.

From May, pa­tients will pay a max­i­mum of $39.50 for each script, with pa­tients el­i­gi­ble for a con­ces­sion pay­ing $6.40, af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ap­proved the drug for the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Ben- efits Scheme sub­sidy. The drug was pre­vi­ously listed on the PBS for other ag­gres­sive can­cers such as ad­vanced me­lanoma and lung can­cer, but has been out of reach for many blood can­cer pa­tients.

More than a third of all peo­ple di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma are aged be­tween 15 and 30, in­clud­ing former Home and Away ac­tor Tessa James who was di­ag­nosed at the age of 23.

Keytruda is ad­min­is­tered ev­ery three weeks for up to two years.

A US clin­i­cal trial found 22 per cent of pa­tients treated with Keytruda un­der­went com­plete re­mis­sion. GOOD NEWS: Ac­tor Tessa James has cel­e­brated her third year in re­mis­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.