Blood cancers

PBS listing of SC daratumumab will slash infusion time burden for MM patients


The PBS listing of a  subcutaneous formulation of daratumumab (Darzalex SC) is expected to reduce administration time from hours to just minutes for patients with multiple myeloma.

From 1 November, Darzalex SC will be available on the PBS for treatment of multiple myeloma. in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone, after one prior line of therapy.

According to manufacturer Janssen, subcutaneous daratumumab can be administered in about 3-5 minutes, compared to around seven hours for the first infusion of intravenous daratumumab, eventually reducing to around 3.5 hours for subsequent infusions with the formulation.

This translates into significant time-savings for patients and clinics from use of the subcutaneous formulation, with a newly initiated patient expected to reduce their treatment time by at least 70 hours in the first year alone.

For infusion centres, the subcutaneous formulation could reduce the number of patient hours in infusion chairs by almost 80,000 annually, based on approximately 1,000 multiple myeloma patients being eligible for subcutaneous  daratumumab through the PBS.

This equates to a 97% decrease in estimated infusion chair time with subcutaneous  daratumumab compared with the intravenous formulation, and 63.8% decrease in healthcare professional time.

The listing was welcomed by Professor Miles Prince, Director of Molecular Oncology and Cancer Immunology, Epworth Healthcare and of the Centre for Blood Cell Therapies at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who described it as a “win-win-win for patients, clinicians and infusion centres”.

“Efficacy and safety will always be the number one reason doctors select one treatment over another, but when efficacy and safety are combined with convenience it is an appealing combination,” he said.

“Darzalex SC has similarly impressive efficacy and safety profiles as the intravenous formulation, but cuts treatment time from hours to minutes. They can spend less time being a cancer patient.”

“Less time spent in hospital will also be an advantage for many cancer patients who are doing their best to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19,” he added.

Professor Prince noted that like the subsidy for intravenous daratumumab, the PBS listing for the subcutaneous formulation only applies after a patient has had one prior line of treatment, “making it important that patients are offered Darzalex SC early on,” he said.

Under the PBS listing, eligible patients will pay $41.30 (general patients) or $6.60 (concessional patients) for each cycle of treatment with Darzalex SC.

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