Ovarian Cancer Australia acknowledges news of the outcome from the recent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), recommending Niraparib for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of women with advanced high-grade ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer following completion of first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, only if they have a BRCA mutation. We understand that not all women will be eligible for Niraparib and will continue to advocate for timely access to affordable, proven treatments for those with ovarian cancer.
While OCA welcomes the PBAC recommendation to list Niraparib on the PBS for first line maintenance therapy in women with advanced ovarian cancer and a known BRCA-mutation, we acknowledge this is disappointing news for those without a BRCA mutation. We'd like to thank all those in our community who lent their voice to the submission, including those who contributed to OCA’s PBAC submission, as well as those who made individual submissions.
We know this process can be confusing so please see some frequently asked questions below. Please note our ovarian cancer nurses are available to provide further information and support, via the OCA Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What's been announced?
PBAC intends to list Niraparib on the PBS for first line maintenance therapy in women with advanced ovarian cancer and a known BRCA-mutation.
Niraparib was approved by TGA at the end of 2021 for women regardless of whether they have a BRCA mutation or not. The recommendation from the PBAC today has been that Niraparib be listed on the PBS only for those with a known BRCA mutation
I saw news about this a few months ago, how is this different?
The TGA approval a few months ago was the first step, however women were still only able to access Niraparib via a compassionate access program, or by self-funding. Listing on the PBS allows the government to subsidise the cost of the medicine, thereby allowing equitable access. Today’s outcome means Niraparib will be subsided for eligible women with a BRCA mutation, but not for those without.
How can I access Niraparib and know if I am eligible?
For more information on eligibility and accessing Niraparib, please discuss this with your treating team.
Will Niraparib be available to women without the BRCA mutation / who are BRCA negative?
The recommended listing announced by PBAC is only for those women with a BRCA mutation.
What does it mean when you say first line, second line etc?
First line maintenance therapy refers to accessing Niraparib soon after initial chemotherapy is complete, to try and stop the cancer from coming back. Second line therapy is the treatment given after a recurrence, or if initial treatment isn’t working.
What about if I am not first line and have had a recurrence?
Whilst some women have been able to access Niraparib in the second line setting previously, OCA isn’t aware of current access programs for Niraparib after a recurrence and we encourage women in this situation to engage their treatment team for further information on available treatment options
What is the PBS?
The PBS is the main mechanism through which the Government subsidises the cost of medications used by the community.
Medicines can only be included on the PBS if recommended for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).
What is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)?
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee is an independent expert body that includes health professionals, consumer nominees and an industry nominee.
Want to know more?
We understand this information can be confusing and encourage all women to discuss their eligibility with their treating medical team. We also know that discussion of treatment options might cause distress and whilst we are unable to advise on individual eligibility, we can provide additional support and information. Please call our Ovarian Cancer Nurses on our Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST).