PBS boost for melanoma patients
1 March 2020
Melanoma patients now have greater access to subsidised immunotherapy thanks to additional treatments today being listed on the PBS.
All resected Stage III patients, regardless of BRAF mutation, now have subsidised access to nivolumab as adjuvant (after surgery) treatment. This is the first adjuvant immunotherapy for resected Stage III patients to be listed on the PBS, and follows clinical trials showing the therapy’s effectiveness in preventing the disease from progressing to Stage IV and spreading throughout the body.
Importantly, today’s PBS listing also includes immunotherapy as first line treatment for high risk and advanced melanoma patients who are BRAF positive. Previously, these patients were required to first undergo treatment with BRAF inhibitors and were only eligible for subsidised immunotherapy after their melanoma progressed or recurred.
Making this treatment accessible and affordable as first-line therapy for these patients will significantly increase their chances of response and long-term survival.
Today’s announcement is welcome news and a wonderful way to begin MIA's month-long awareness and fundraising campaign, Melanoma March.
‘MIA patients and their families lobbied hard for these PBS listings for many months, and this outcome is a credit to their dedication,’ said MIA Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer.
‘We thank everyone who submitted comments for consideration by the Federal Government’s PBAC, as these submissions, along with the tireless work from our team of researchers, clinicians and colleagues around the country, have now secured affordable access to these life-saving treatments for melanoma patients,’ added Co-Medical Director Professor Georgina Long.
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