Cancer drugs made cheaper

NEW medicines have been approved for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The new listings will include a medicine for the treatment of a type of lung cancer.

“The government will reduce the cost of gefitinib (sold as Iressa) for more than 1400 Australians with non-small cell lung cancer,” federal Health Minister Peter Dutton said.

“Patients would pay around $15,000 for gefitinib each year without subsidised access through the PBS.

“The government has also approved the listing of a new item on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for the genetic test that is necessary to determine eligibility for gefitinib.

Mr Dutton also announced that a new brand of cyclophosphamide, prescribed for the treatment of a range of cancers, and a new brand of benztropine, which is prescribed for the emergency treatment of uncontrollable body movements, will be listed on the PBS.

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