Lifesaver costs less
Cheaper medicine for lymphoma sufferers
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.