Blood cancers

Immunotherapies get PBS listing extended for Philadelphia positive B-ALL

The PBS listings for inotuzumab ozogamicin (Besponsa) and blinatumomab (Blincyto) have been extended from October include to include patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) B-cell precursor acute lymphocytic leukaemia (B-ALL).

Until now the the two drugs have been recommended for treatment of R/R Philadelphia chromosome negative (Ph-) CD22 positive B-ALL patients.

Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay more than $122,900 per course of treatment without subsidised access through the PBS. An average of 16 patients per year (for six years) could benefit from each of the listings

The extension to the listing was recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in May 2019, when it reaffirmed there was a high clinical need in patients with Ph+ disease (R/R B-ALL) particularly given it is generally associated with a poorer prognosis than Ph- disease.

“The PBAC considered the treatment effect was unlikely to differ significantly based on Philadelphia chromosome status and was therefore satisfied that blinatumomab and inotuzumab would be sufficiently cost-effective in Ph+ disease,” it said.

Also listed on the PBS from 1 October is aprepitant, which will be available for the treatment of patients with nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay more than $80 per script (around 1 script per course of treatment). In 2018, 7,269 patients accessed a comparable treatment for this condition.

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