Life-changing breast cancer medication for Tasmanian patients

A life-changing breast cancer medicine listed by the Turnbull Government on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be available for patients in Tasmania from July 1 this year.

Nationals Senator for Tasmania, Steve Martin said the investment of $703.6 million by the Government will mean that more than 3,000 Australian patients with inoperable or metastatic hormone receptor positive breast cancer will benefit from the 1 July listing of ribociclib (Kisqali®).

“Hormone receptor positive tumours are the most common form of breast cancer and account for most of the deaths from the disease,” Senator Martin said. 

“By inhibiting two proteins that drive the growth of tumour cells, ribociclib — used in combination with other drugs — will slow the progression of inoperable and metastatic breast cancers in some patients.

“This medication would otherwise cost patients around $71,820 per year but under the PBS patients will cost $39.50 per script while concessional patients will pay $6.40 per script.”

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listing of Kisqali.

The Committee is by law and in practice, independent of Government in its deliberations.  By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from this committee.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising approximately $9 billion worth of new medicines.

“Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the PBAC,” Senator Martin said.

“Labor delayed the listing of seven vital drugs – leaving important medicines out of reach for many Australian patients.”

"The Coalition’s commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system.”