Important information about breast cancer treatment
In 2015, BCNA was proud to announce a new funding initiative with For Benefit Medicines (FBM). FBM is Australia’s first not-for-profit pharmaceutical company and is providing generic drugs for breast cancer treatment.
FBM distributes generic versions of two hormone therapy drugs, anastrozole and letrozole. Under the agreement between BCNA and FBM, 50% of all profits from the sale of these two drugs is donated to BCNA to support Australians affected by breast cancer. The remaining 50% is donated to Breast Cancer Institute of Australia to fund research into breast cancer treatments and a cure.
In 2016, BCNA conducted a survey of our members to explore women’s perspectives and beliefs about generic medicines and the FBM not-for-profit model. A total of 623 people completed our survey. While very few participants had heard of FBM, 80% told us they would be very likely or likely to use a generic drug that put 100% of profits back into breast cancer support and research. When asked if they would feel comfortable asking their doctor for a generic version of a drug they were prescribed, which puts 100% of the profits back into supporting women affected by breast cancer and medical research, again 80% said they would.
In 2017, FBM donated $20,000 to BCNA and $20,000 to Breast Cancer Institute of Australia from the sale of its breast cancer drugs.
What does this mean for you?
If you are currently taking anastrozole or letrozole and are interested in supporting the FBM model, you may like to ask your doctor or pharmacist about FBM’s drugs Anastrozole FBM and Letrozole FBM.
All FBM drugs are listed on the PBS and cost about the same as other brands. They meet the same strict regulations applied to the original brand with regard to quality, safety and effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions about this partnership
Who is For Benefit Medicine?
For Benefit Medicines is Australia’s first not-for-profit (NFP) pharmaceutical company. It has been established under a social enterprise model, with the sole purpose of distributing 100% of its profits to patient support and medical research in Australia, rather than to shareholders.
Which drugs do they have available?
FBM has two breast cancer drugs available for use in Australia – generic versions of the hormone therapies anastrozole and letrozole. In line with their slogan, Now every cloud has a silver lining, FBM is providing a silver lining for those affected by breast cancer, by ensuring all profits from the sale of these breast cancer treatments are invested back into breast cancer.
FBM also has generic versions of drugs used to treat leukaemia and cystic fibrosis. Profits from these drugs are invested back into those diseases.
Will these drugs cost me more?
All FBM medications are approved by the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in Australia, and are required to meet the same strict regulations applied to the original brand with regard to quality, safety and effectiveness.
FBM’s generic medications are available in pharmacies as Anastrozole FBM and Letrozole FBM.
Importantly, FBM medicines are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and will cost about the same as current breast cancer medications.
How do I find out more?
If you are currently taking anastrozole or letrozole and are interested in the FBM social enterprise model, you may like to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How do I know if my pharmacist stocks the product?
You might like to phone the pharmacy to ask if they stock the FBM brand. If they don’t, you could ask them to order it for you.
If you are unhappy about the response from the pharmacy, you can ask to speak to the pharmacist on duty. If you are still not able to access the FBM option, you may like to inform FBM direct on 1300 656 256.
What if my pharmacist says they don’t stock the FBM brands of anastrozole and letrozole?
Patients have the right to choose which brand of drug they want to use. If a pharmacy does not stock the FBM brand and you want it, you can ask the pharmacy to order it in. Generally, it should be delivered to the pharmacy in the next day or so, although if the pharmacy is in a rural area it may take a little longer. The pharmacy cannot charge any more than the PBS-listed price unless there are other services provided along with the drug (e.g. home delivery).
Who will benefit from this new agreement?
Under their model, 50% of the profits will be directed to support people living with breast cancer, and 50% into research for breast cancer treatments and a cure.
BCNA has agreed to be the recipient of the patient support share of their profits. FBM will donate the research share to the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia, which is the fundraising body supporting Breast Cancer Trials.
For more information about FBM visit www.forbenefitmedicines.com.au.