PBS access has been widened to include an oral therapy for melanoma patients and adjuvant treatment for women with early breast cancer.
From 1 April the targeted oral combination therapy of encorafenib (Braftovi) plus binimetinib (Mektovi) is PBS subsidised to treat adult patients with unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation.
The combination therapy has been shown to prolong progression-free and overall survival compared to vemurafenib in adult patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600E or BRAF V600K mutation.
Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said the PBS listing of the new oral BRAF/MEK inhibitor therapy was welcome because it could delivered outside of hospital settings.
“With the current coronavirus pandemic in Australia threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system, access to oral therapies is especially useful,” said Professor McArthur.
“The use of effective oral therapies for cancer has been recognised as a particularly important option for patients by the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce and cancer experts across the world.”
Also the PBS listing of trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) has been expanded to include the treatment of patients with HER-2 positive early breast cancer.
The drug will be subsidised for adjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer with residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant (before surgery) taxane and trastuzumab-based treatment
In this population, the drug has been shown to reduce the risk of disease recurrence by 50%.