Ovarian Cancer Australia welcomes the news from the Health Minister that Niraparib will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 September 2022 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.
This listing was recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) back in April and listing on the PBS is the final step in the process for subsidised access to Niraparib for those with a BRCA mutation. We are thankful to all those who supported the submission made to PBAC by sharing their lived experience of ovarian cancer and continue to support our advocacy efforts.
Ovarian Cancer Australia is pleased that Niraparib will be an additional treatment option on the PBS for those with ovarian cancer who have a BRCA mutation. As evidence continues to build, we are hopeful that further treatment options will become more readily available for those impacted by ovarian cancer.
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 has been announced?
The Health Minister has announced that Niraparib is now listed on the PBS for first line maintenance therapy in women with advanced ovarian cancer and a known BRCA-mutation.
I saw news about this a few months ago, how is this different?
The recommendation for listing was made a few months ago by PBAC, but that doesn’t automatically mean it is subsidised by the PBS, it must undergo a process for formal approval. That process is now complete, so Niraparib will be subsidised for eligible people with a BRCA mutation from 1st September 2022.
Will Niraparib be available to women without the BRCA mutation / who are BRCA negative? What options are available if I don’t have the BRCA mutation?
Niraparib is currently only subsidised on the PBS for those with a BRCA mutation. Personalised medicine is a growing area of cancer care and increasingly research is focused on finding treatments which can help specific people by targeting specific types of tumours. This will mean a growing number of people with an ovarian cancer diagnosis will be receiving different treatments to others, moving away from a one size fits all approach. Whilst this progress is exciting, it can be difficult if your cancer is not a type that can access these newer therapies yet. We encourage you to discuss options with your treatment team who are best placed to advise your eligibility for personalised medicine programs and clinical trials.
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. Whilst some women have been able to access Niraparib in the second line setting previously, Ovarian Cancer Australia isn’t aware of current access programs for Niraparib after a recurrence. We encourage women in this situation to engage their treatment team for further information on available treatment options.
What is the PBS?
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (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 (PBAC) is an independent expert body that includes health professionals, consumer nominees and an industry nominee.
Would you like to know more or discuss any of the above further?
We understand this information can be confusing and encourage all women to discuss their eligibility with their treating medical team. Whilst we are unable to advise on individual eligibility, we can provide additional support and information so please call our Ovarian Cancer Nurses to discuss further via Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST).