Government strengthens support for melanoma patients

Two breakthrough melanoma treatment options have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to bring hope to over 2000 Australians with advanced melanoma.

On March 1 the current PBS listing of Opdivo ® (nivolumab) will be expanded to include adjuvant treatment of IIIB, IIIC, IIID and stage IV malignant melanoma.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said Australia had one of the highest rates of melanoma and particularly in his electorate around the bayside, it was important to get regular skin cancer checks.

“The Morrison Government has delivered for melanoma patients by listing this breakthrough treatment on the PBS,” Mr Vasta said

“Without this listing the cost for the course of treatment would be significantly higher.

“It is estimated more than 1500 patients might otherwise pay more than $100,000 per course of treatment without this subsidy.

“With one Australian diagnosed with melanoma every five hours, supporting them with subsidised treatment is making a difference and saving lives.”

The Government is also expanding the listing of Opdivo and Yervoy (nivolumab and ipilimumab) to allow use as a first-line therapy in the treatment of BRAF V600 mutant positive Stage III or Stage IV of unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the expanded listing of Opdivo on the PBS would improve patient recovery.

“These significant expansions will provide melanoma patients with a new breakthrough form of treatment, with less side effects and a greater chance recovery,” Minster Hunt said.

“Each of these listings has been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.”