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02 May 2016

Submission to Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee on tamoxifen for women at increased risk of breast cancer

Update

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended to the government that Nolvadex (tamoxifen) be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for this purpose. Nolvadex was listed on the PBS on 1 October 2016. 

Submission

BCNA has provided a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in support of an application to list Nolvadex (tamoxifen) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for women at moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer. This includes women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

Tamoxifen is a well known and very effective breast cancer treatment.

Recent large international clinical trials have found that tamoxifen is also a very effective treatment for women who are at moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer. The trials found that taking tamoxifen every day for five years can reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by more than 30%.

While women can currently take tamoxifen ‘off-label’ to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, BCNA is aware anecdotally that some doctors are reluctant to prescribe tamoxifen to women at increased risk of breast cancer because it is not registered for this use. Similarly, some women are reluctant to use drugs off-label.

The current alternative option for these women is surgery to remove both breasts and sometimes the ovaries.

BCNA supports the listing of Nolvadex on the PBS to give women at increased risk of breast cancer an alternative option.

More information

Read BCNA’s submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.