Providing affordable access to new treatment for Leukaemia and Lymphoma

Media release
09 Oct 2017
Prime Minister, Minister for Health
Health and Social Services

More than 920 Australians each year will benefit from affordable access to a new medicine for leukaemia and lymphoma patients.

Ibrutinib (sold as Imbruvica®) would normally cost $187,390 on average per course of treatment, putting it beyond the reach of most patients.

This $466 million listing on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme will save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From 1 December 2017, it will cost a maximum of $38.80 per treatment and just $6.30 for concessional patients.

It will be available to eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

Ibrutinib is used when CLL or SLL has progressed or has not responded to first line treatment with chemo-immuno-therapy.

It is significantly more effective than the treatments currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Turnbull Government is guaranteeing Medicare and we’re continuing to make medicines available and affordable for Australians who need them.

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by adding around $7.5 billion worth of medicines to the PBS.

More than 60 new cancer medicines or amended listings have been approved by the Coalition Government since October 2013. This includes new treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer, melanoma, advanced breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

We are now spending one in every six dollars of PBS expenditure on cancer medicines.