A quick summary of the latest changes for cancer medications on the PBS.
New medications are available on the PBS for the treatment of skin and lung cancer.
Cemiplimab (Libtayo) is an immune checkpoint inhibitor for adults with metastatic or locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (advanced CSCC) when curative surgery and curative radiation is not an option (see Amanda Sheppeard’s story in this newsletter).
Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) has been expanded as an adjuvant treatment for certain patients with Stage II to IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have had surgery and chemotherapy.
And Tepotinib (Tepmetko) is now listed for treatment of patients with locally advanced and metastatic (NSCLC) with a METex14sk gene variation.
Additional brands for already listed medications include Dasatinib (Sun), for certain types of chronic myeloid leukaemia and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Pomalidomide Sandoz, for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, Bevaciptin (bevacizumab) for metastatic colorectal cancer, breast and renal cancer, NSCLC, glioma, epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer and cervical cancer; and Bortezomib Baxter for multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.
A caution has been added to lenalidomide (Revlimid), used for multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and mantle cell lymphoma, stating “This drug is a category X drug and must not be given to pregnant women. If lenalidomide is taken during pregnancy, a teratogenic effect of lenalidomide in humans cannot be ruled out.”
And a note has been added to pegfilgrastim, given after chemotherapy to decrease duration of severe neutropenia and reduce incidence of infection: “Encouraging biosimilar prescribing for treatment naive patients is Government policy. A viable biosimilar market is expected to result in reduced costs for biological medicines, allowing the Government to reinvest in new treatments. Further information can be found on the Medicines webpage (www.health.gov.au/health-topics/medicines).”
Detailed information can be found on the PBS website.