Recently, Novartis announced that from 1 April 2021 Kisqali (ribociclib) in combination with fulvestrant (Fulvestrant Sandoz®) would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) metastatic breast cancer.
This combination is reimbursed for those who are newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, as well as for those previously treated with endocrine therapy.
Kirsten Pilatti, Chief Executive Officer, BCNA welcomes the news after drug company AstraZeneca pulled out of discussions with the Australian Department of Health to have fulvestrant (Faslodex) listed on the PBS last September.
"This is an important day in ensuring we're delivering the best possible treatments to all Australians living with metastatic breast cancer,” she says. “The PBS listing is another step closer to making sure Australia doesn't have a two-tiered system where only those who can afford it can access the best care. Being able to provide quality drugs that may help women or men living with metastatic breast cancer live longer, means the world, not only to the patient, but to their family and friends.”
BCNA has been calling for fulvestrant to be listed on the PBS for many years. These calls were driven by our members, who told us about their concerns with the cost. Many of them could not afford to buy it, although it had been recommended to them by their medical oncologist.
Fulvestrant has been used for many years to treat hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer. While sometimes used on its own, it is now often used in combination with the new CDK4/6 inhibitor drugs – Kisqali (ribociclib), Ibrance (palbociclib) and Verzenio (abemaciclib). Clinical trials have shown very good outcomes when a CDK inhibitor is given in combination with fulvestrant.
Potentially hundreds of women with metastatic breast cancer will now be able to access this important therapy, regardless of their age or previous treatment, and give them a chance to try and fight this challenging disease.
It is estimated that this will save Australian families more than $50,000 in treatment.