New Therapies, New Challenges

On the 1st of May, 2018 immunotherapy became available on the PBS for eligible Australian patients for relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

This listing filled a huge unmet need for a small group of patients who had very limited options for a great outcome prior to this therapy becoming available.

Genomics, research and clinical evidence all came together to give patients in Australia – and across the world – access to a treatment that could give them back their lives.

As a testament to the great health system that we have in Australia, this treatment is now listed on our PBS after it was submitted to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). However, it became immediately evident relevant clauses had been overlooked in the negotiation process denying some eligible patients access from the 1st of May, says Lymphoma Australia CEO, Sharon Winton.

What appeared to be a simplistic change had to now meet the requirements of the important components that underpin our health system. Patient safety, treatment outcomes and cost effectiveness still needed to be considered by all stakeholders to ensure the appropriate wording was delivered in the latest decision-making process.

Our Health Minister Hon Greg Hunt MP, the Minister’s office, PBAC (Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the Department of Health, MSD, clinicians and Lymphoma Australia worked tirelessly to deliver a solution in a matter of days.

If you think you may be eligible for this treatment, please discuss this with your treating clinician and further information can also be found on the PBS website. 

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