Dialog Box

OCA welcomes Federal Budget announcement of Olaparib's expanded listing on PBS


OCA welcomes the Federal Government’s budget announcement that the drug treatment for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer – Olaparib – has an expanded listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS.) 

From the 1 November 2020, Lynparza® (olaparib) will be made available for the treatment of newly diagnosed advanced high grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancers. An average of 300 patients per year may benefit from this listing and would normally pay over $140,500 per course of treatment for this medicine. 

Olaparib is now approved on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for first-line maintenance treatment in women with BRCA-mutated, stage 3 and 4 ovarian cancer. This will make Olaparib easily accessible and affordable to more women. 

CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia Jane Hill heralded Olaparib’s listing on the PBS as a significant breakthrough in the treatment of women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.  

“The team at Ovarian Cancer Australia have long been advocating for access to affordable drugs like Olaparib, which can make a huge difference to the lives of women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer,” Ms Hill said. 

“Clinical trials have shown that if Olaparib is administered earlier in the treatment process for ovarian cancer diagnosed in advanced stages, the risk of the disease worsening or death at three years is reduced by 70 per cent among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. 

“In Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each day. 70 per cent of these women are diagnosed at an advanced stage, making it difficult to treat and more likely to reoccur. Of all high grade epithelial ovarian cancers, around 15 per cent will have occurred in the setting of a hereditary BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. 

“We know that Olaparib delays disease recurrence while preserving a good quality of life for many women with advanced ovarian cancer and a BRCA gene mutation. Listing this drug on the PBS and making it affordable for women is an extraordinary step forward in the treatment of a disease that has one of the highest rates of recurrence. 

“Whilst, at this stage Olaparib is only available on the PBS to women with a BRCA gene mutation, we’re hopeful that in the near future more treatments will be made available to all women living with the disease,” Ms Hill said.  

Each year more than 1,500 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1,000 will die. It is the deadliest women’s cancer with only 46 per cent of women surviving five years beyond diagnosis. 

“We thank every woman involved impacted by ovarian cancer who raised their voice and made this progress possible, the Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt MP and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) for listing Olaparib on the PBS and we look forward to outcomes of future trials where Olaparib and other PARP inhibiting drugs can be available for all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” Ms Hill added.  

Originally, this drug was only available to patients with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation when they had relapsed with stage 3, 4 platinum sensitive ovarian cancer.  

Although Olaparib is only available on the PBS to women with the BRCA mutation, Ovarian Cancer Australia is hopeful that in the future more drugs will be available to all women living with ovarian cancer.  

For support, please call the OCA Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST.) Please note we are unable to provide information on eligibility and encourage you to speak to your treating medical team about this. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

OCA welcomes the Federal Government’s budget announcement that the drug treatment for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer – Olaparib – has an expanded listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS.)

What’s new?

Olaparib is now listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for first line maintenance therapy in women with stage 3 and 4, BRCA-mutated, ovarian cancer from November 1st. 

How is this different to the last announcement?

This announcement means that women with stage 3 and 4, BRCA-mutated, ovarian cancer will no longer have to wait for their disease to relapse in order to access Olaparib on the PBS. Through the PBS, Olaparib is more easily accessible and affordable.

I thought Olaparib was already listed on the PBS?

Olaparib has already been available on the PBS since 2017 to women whose BRCA-mutated, stage 3 and 4 platinum sensitive ovarian cancer had relapsed. This listing has now been expanded.

What was the last announcement about?

Earlier in 2019, the approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) allowed access to Olaparib via the Compassionate Access Scheme or a clinical trial for first line maintenance therapy in women with BRCA-mutated advanced high-grade ovarian cancer.

The Compassionate Access Program is still available, and will continue to run until the commencement of this new listing. Please discuss your eligibility for this program with your treatment team.

Do you have to relapse in order to access Olaparib on the PBS now?

Women with stage 3 and 4, BRCA-mutated, ovarian cancer will no longer have to wait for their disease to relapse in order to access Olaparib on the PBS.

How can I access Olaparib and know if I am eligible?

For more information on accessing Olaparib, please discuss this with your treating team. The compassionate access scheme for first-line therapy of Olaparib is continuing until this new listing commences.  

Will Olaparib be available to women without the BRCA mutation / who are BRCA negative?

Currently, Olaparib is only available on the PBS to women with the BRCA mutation. OCA continues to stay positive that soon more drugs will be available to all women living with ovarian cancer including those with BRCA negative disease.

We acknowledge that this may be distressing to women with BRCA negative disease. If you would like support, please call our Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST).

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.

While we are unable to advise on eligibility, we can provide additional support and information via our Helpline on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST).



 


06 October 2020
Category: Media Releases
Tags:
Donate