Leukaemia Foundation supports Health Minister in PBS announcement for dasatinib
Australians who are newly diagnosed with an aggressive leukaemia will now have access to the drug dasatinib following an announcement by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt this week.
Dasatinib, a drug that is used in the treatment of several types of leukaemia, will now be available to patients who are newly diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
The drug was previously PBS listed, but only for patients with relapsed or refractory forms of the disease – or patients newly diagnosed with (Ph+) Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML).
Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said the extended listing gives Australians living with Ph+ ALL access to an important precision medicine and front-line treatment to fight their disease.
ALL is a disease of the blood and bone marrow characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells. ALL can occur at any age but is more common in young children aged 0-14 years, who represent 60 percent of all cases. It is the most common type of childhood leukaemia and is the most common childhood cancer.
“ALL like many blood cancers, is an incredibly aggressive disease and survival rates decrease with age. Today, most children can be cured of the disease, but in adults cure rates are more variable.
“We hope that access to new treatments like dasatinib as a front-line treatment will improve survival rates,” Mr Petch said.
“Australians living with all blood cancers want timely and affordable access to the best possible drug to treat their specific disease,” Mr Petch said.
“We are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to list all medicines on the PBS that receive a positive recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).”