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BCNA News 26 Aug 2022

Enhertu not recommended for PBS

Breast cancer drug Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) has been shown to improve progression-free survival for people diagnosed with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive metastatic breast cancer.  

This week BCNA was disappointed to learn that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) did not recommend Enhertu for subsidy on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). 

In a recent submission in support of Enhertu, BCNA noted that the significant cost of the drug meant it was out of reach for so many Australians and that subsidising Enhertu would alleviate this barrier and improve equity of access. 

BCNA understands that PBAC recognised the clinical benefit of Enhertu but did not recommend it for subsidy on the PBS citing the price would need to be reduced for it to be cost-effective. 

BCNA is working closely with AstraZeneca to ensure that Enhertu is resubmitted to PBAC at the earliest possible opportunity. 

In the meantime, AstraZeneca have launched a free-of-charge patient access program (PAP) to allow eligible patients to access Enhertu prior to listing on the PBS. BCNA will have more information on this program shortly, and patients should speak to their oncologist for further details.

The cost of accessing new breast cancer treatments if often significant, and BCNA believes it is unacceptable that Australian women and men with metastatic breast cancer may be out of pocket to access drugs that can improve and extend their lives. BCNA will continue to call for their voices to be heard.