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Katter lobbies to extend PBS cancer drug listings

Jun 21, 2018

Katter lobbies to extend PBS cancer drug listings

Jun 21, 2018

FOLLOWING the success of breast cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma drugs being added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has submitted another letter to the Minister for Health requesting that he urgently considers adding other cancer fighting drugs to the PBS.

Mr Katter penned the letter to Minister Hunt after receiving a flood of appeals to his office and via his social media pages from constituents, patients as well as others exposed to the cancer fight.

“We hope that the Minister now considers other types of cancers to be included in this ‘Keytruda PBS subsidy’. We understand the present situation is that if you do not have certain stages of melanoma or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you still have to pay the exorbitant treatment fees for the drug ‘Keytruda’.”

In his letter, Mr Katter urged Minister Hunt to address the additional cost incurred by families facing life threatening cancer, so that cancer sufferers may have an affordable drug readily available and have more quality time to live.

Mr Katter said, “Survival is of course the ultimate aim of treatment, but progression free survival or slowing down the course of the disease is most important to increasing the quality of life for all cancer patients.”

The benefit of the drug Keytruda is that it works in conjunction with the immune system to fight cancers and has minimal side effects and is only prescribed when chemotherapy is not suitable. Similarly, Mr Katter wrote to Minister Hunt in February this year requesting that he add the life-saving breast cancer drugs Ribociclib and Palbocicilibto the PBS, to which the drugs were preliminarily listed in April.

“We are continually advised of the difficulties faced by cancer patients to afford the drugs for life saving cancer treatment and we thank the Minister for his efforts to date.”