Government approves Herceptin for use before surgery

News | 30 November 2012

BCNA welcomes the Australian Government announcement that, from 1 December, Herceptin® will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for women with HER2-positive locally advanced breast cancer who could benefit from treatment with Herceptin® before their surgery.

Herceptin before surgery is sometimes called ‘neoadjuvant’ Herceptin®. A small proportion of women with locally advanced HER2+ breast cancer are recommended to have Herceptin® before their breast cancer surgery, in order to shrink the tumour and make it easier for the surgeon to operate.

The inclusion of Herceptin® on the PBS for this purpose means that these women will now pay only the PBS copayment or script fee (currently $35.40 or $5.80 concession) for their neoadjuvant Herceptin. Until now, some women may have had to forgo this treatment option because they were required to pay the full cost of Herceptin® received prior to surgery. 

In June 2012, BCNA wrote a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) supporting the application for the neoadjuvant Herceptin® listing.  In preparing the submission, we surveyed BCNA members about their experiences with Herceptin®. Many of their comments were included in our submission. You can read our full submission in the Submissions and reviews section of our website.

BCNA was pleased to work with the Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA) in support of this application. This is great example of organisations working together to achieve outcomes that make a real difference for women.

We also thank all the women who assisted us with our submission.

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