Blood cancers

PBS restrictions relaxed for multiple myeloma patients

Thursday, 1 Feb 2018

From today people living with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma will no longer be required to use thalidomide prior to gaining access to lenalidomide (Revlimid) through the PBS.

Lenalidomide in combination with dexamethasone has been available as a first line treatment for patients not eligible for transplant since 2017 and as a third line treatment since 2009.

But a historic PBS restriction meant it was unavailable as a second line therapy for most patients, a press release by Celgene, makers of Revlimid explain.

“This change brings a much more rational approach to the availability across patient groups,” the company said.

The updated listing also brings Australia in line with practice around the world.

Welcoming the announcement  Dr Hang Quach, Consultant clinical and laboratory Haematologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne declared the removal of the thalidomide restriction as “a real step forward” for Australian patients living with multiple myeloma.

“In the past, patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma have had to fail on treatment or have their disease progress before they could access additional treatment options. This is no longer the case. Patients will now be able to access the most advanced therapies much earlier in their treatment journey,” he said.

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