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MabThera (rituximab) Update

IMPORTANT Information for all Lymphoma/ CLL Australian patients receiving MabThera® (rituximab)


From 1 April 2021
MabThera® IV (rituximab) solution for intravenous injection

From 1 April 2021, Roche will be removing MabThera IV from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Whilst subsidised access to Roche branded MabThera IV will no longer be available from this date, clinicians will continue to be able to prescribe biosimilar rituximab through the PBS for all currently approved indications.

MabThera IV will continue to be registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for all currently approved indications. To ensure minimal disruption for patients they will be switched from their current treatment to biosimilar rituximab.

From 1 October 2021
MabThera® SC (rituximab) solution for subcutaneous injection.

As of 1 October 2021 Roche Australia will be removing MabThera® SC (rituximab) solution for subcutaneous injection from the PBS.

MabThera SC will remain on the PBS until 30 September 2021. After this date there will not be a biosimilar SC available and patients will need to revert to a biosimilar IV for MabThera®

Why is this happening 

Globally, MabThera® (rituximab) came off patent a couple of years ago and because of this pharmaceutical companies were able to commence trials to investigate if other versions of MabThera® (rituximab) could be given to patients that demonstrate the same outcomes and are safe for patients. Biosimilar rituximab has also brought
significant savings to the Australian PBS and these funds can be reinvested into other new treatments.

Many Australian patients may already be receiving an approved biosimilar at your hospital as biosimilar rituximab has been available in Australia since October 2019. Since biosimilars work in the same way as the original biological medicine, you should not notice any difference in the effects the new brand of medicine has on you.

To understand this more please read these papers provided by the Australian Government

What does this mean for Australian patients?

If you are currently having IV infusions for MabThera® (rituximab) your treatment centre/hospital will be using one of the two biosimilars that are currently approved in Australia from the 1 April 2021.

The approved biosimilars in Australia are:

  • Truxima® & Riximyo®     
  • Currently not marketed are Ritemvia®, Rituzena®, Tuxella® (from Celltrion) and Rixonfya®, Rixvyda® (from Sandoz).
What should you do the next time you are due to receive MabThera® (rituximab)?
  • Ask which biosimilar you will be receiving?
  • Ask if there are any side effects that you should be aware of for this biosimilar? However, as biosimilars and Mabthera have the same side effect profile this may not occur
  • Ask if you will be having the same biosimilar for the remainder of your treatment?

Let Lymphoma Australia know if you have concerns that we can help you with.

Phone 1800 359 081 or email enquiries@lymphoma.org.au


Is MabThera® (rituximab) still available in Australia

Yes.  Mabthera/ Rituximab is still registered with the TGA in Australia but it will no longer be subsidised by the PBS. Australians can still access MabThera® (rituximab) if you are prepared to self-fund your treatment.

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For people living in Australia, we can offer a phone translation service. Have your nurse or English speaking relative call us to arrange this.