Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has welcomed a decision by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to recommend two crucial drugs to treat early breast cancer for a government subsidy.
The PBAC announced on Friday 15 December that Verzenio (abemaciclib) and Lynparza (olaparib) are recommended for subsidy on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), following consideration at its November meeting.
BCNA Director Policy, Advocacy and Support Services Vicki Durston said this decision takes these drugs a step closer to being more affordable once they are listed on the PBS.
“We hope these drugs will be listed on the PBS as soon as possible to ensure greater equity of access for those with high-risk early breast cancer,” Ms Durston said.
Verzenio (abemaciclib), in combination with standard adjuvant endocrine therapy (ET), is for the treatment of Hormone Receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2) negative, which is at high risk of recurrence.
Lynparza (olaparib) is for the treatment of patients with HER2-negative, high-risk early breast cancer with a confirmed BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation who have previously been treated with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy.
“Listing of these drugs on the PBS will also help address other significant impacts of a breast cancer diagnosis, including fear of recurrence and financial toxicity relating to private funding of treatments that are not yet subsidised”
, BCNA Director Policy, Advocacy and Support Services
Drugs not recommended for subsidy
However, BCNA was disappointed that the PBAC did not recommend the listing of Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan) for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic HR+, HER2- breast cancer.
Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) for the treatment of patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer was also not recommended for subsidy.
HER2-low is a new distinct subtype of breast cancer which is characterised by low levels of the HER-2 protein. HER2-low tumours are defined as those whose cells contain lower levels of the HER2 protein on their surface, however there aren’t enough to be considered HER2-positive. Enhertu would provide a new treatment option for those with this type of metastatic breast cancer.
BCNA will now work with the pharmaceutical companies to see Trodelvy and Enhertu resubmitted for consideration by the PBAC as soon as possible.
Reducing the financial burden of a breast cancer diagnosis and increasing equity of access to new treatments and drugs are key priorities to improve survival and quality of life for those with breast cancer.
If you have any questions about access to the drugs in this article, we encourage you to speak to your treating team.
BCNA - BCNA welcomes decision to recommend two crucial breast cancer drugs for government subsidy
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.