16 July 2018
PBS funding for relapsed mantle cell lymphoma from the 1st of August
PBS funding for relapsed mantle cell
lymphoma from the 1st of August
Federal Minister for Health announced that from 1 August 2018, IMBRUVICA®
(ibrutinib) will become the first medicine available through the Pharmaceutical
Benefits Scheme (PBS) for Australians with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) whose condition
progresses after initial chemotherapy-based treatment*.
new subsidy will make treatment with IMBRUVICA affordable for hundreds of Australians
each year with relapsed or refractory MCL, who face an average
survival of only one-to-two years.1
is a rare and aggressive type of lymphoma that typically begins in the immune
system’s disease-fighting lymph nodes5 (around the neck, armpits and
groin) but can spread to other tissues such as
the bone marrow, liver, spleen, gastrointestinal tract and even the spine and
Associate Professor Constantine Tam, Disease
Group Lead, Low Grade Lymphoma & CLL at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
and Director of Haematology at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and one of the
doctors involved in clinical trials of IMBRUVICA, welcomed the new subsidy
noting that, unlike many other forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, MCL has a very
is both aggressive and incurable, meaning that even if you manage to achieve
remission, the vast majority of patients will relapse,” explained Dr Tam.
types of cancers I treat are either aggressive but potentially curable, or incurable
but not aggressive. There is a clear and present need for affordable access to
treatment for MCL patients for whom chemotherapy has stopped working,” 1
now, there has been no standard of care for these patients.1This PBS
listing provides a new treatment option, which allows us to keep fighting the
cancer when chemotherapy stops working.”
IMBRUVICA works by blocking a protein in
the body that helps cancer cells live and grow. This protein is called Bruton’s
tyrosine kinase. Blocking this protein may help kill and reduce the number of
cancer cells and also slow the spread of the disease.
Sharon Winton, CEO of Lymphoma Australia, said the
PBS listing of IMBRUVICA for MCL was “great news for hundreds of Australians
with limited treatment options”.
“Many Australians with this aggressive
form of lymphoma have been waiting for a viable new treatment option,” she
“This medicine has been studied
extensively, both here in Australia and overseas, and we are delighted that it
will become more accessible to patients with MCL. Minister Hunt is to be
commended for ensuring there was no delay in acting upon the experts’ advice
and making IMBRUVICA available on the PBS for MCL patients,” she added.
Mr Bruce Goodwin, Managing Director, Janssen Australia and
New Zealand (Janssen-Cilag Pty Limited), also commended the Turnbull Government
on its significant investment in extending the PBS listing of IMBRUVICA to now
include the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory MCL.
“This is an important moment in the
treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. We are pleased to support the Federal
Government’s efforts to address this area of serious medical need and will
continue to work with them, as well as doctors and healthcare organisations, to
improve the treatment of blood cancers in Australia,” Mr Goodwin said.
IMBRUVICA was made available on the PBS
in 2017 for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic leukaemia
(SLL) who are relapsed or refractory
to at least one prior therapy and who are unsuitable for treatment with
fludarabine. It will now become available on the PBS on 1 August 2018 for
patients with MCL who are relapsed or refractory to at least one prior therapy.