Pharmaceutical benefits scheme: Albanian government lists new drugs to treat skin and lung cancers and XLH genetic diseases

More than a thousand Australians will have access to cheaper medicines from next month as part of new Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme enrollments announced by Health Minister Mark Butler.

Patients being treated for skin cancer, lung cancer and a rare genetic condition, X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), will benefit from the changes to PBS, which come into effect on November 1.

“The Albanian government will continue to list life-changing drugs on the PBS,” Butler said in a statement on Saturday.

The listings include Cemiplimab (Libtayo), which could cost patients more than $144,000 per treatment without the subsidy.

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It is estimated that 1,000 patients per year treated for locally advanced or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma should benefit from registration.

“The listing of Cemiplimab is vitally important to providing an affordable treatment that will improve the lives of patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma,” said Butler.

Burosumab (Crysvita), used to treat XLH, placed on the PBS is expected to benefit approximately 230 patients per year who might otherwise face treatment costs of over $360,000 per year.

“Listing Burosumab will be life changing for Australians living with XLH,” said the Minister of Health.

Treatment options for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are also being made more affordable.

The government will expand the list of atezolizumab (Tecentriq) “as an adjuvant treatment for certain patients with stage II to IIIA NSCLC who have undergone surgery and chemotherapy”.

The treatment would normally cost more than $90,000 per course, with the government estimating around 180 patients a year will benefit from its placement on the PBS.

Tepotinib (Tepmetko) – used to treat “locally advanced and metastatic NSCLC with a particular type of gene alteration (METex14sk)” – will also be listed.

Approximately 340 patients per year will no longer face costs of more than $112,000 per treatment.

Mr Butler added that the PBS co-payment will be reduced from early next year.

“The Albanian government will reduce the cost of medicines for millions of Australians by reducing the PBS co-payment from the current maximum of $42.50 per script, to a maximum of $30 per script, from 1 January 2023,” did he declare.

“Making these life-changing drugs even more affordable.”