Subsidy boost for breast cancer patients

The government is expected to subsidise drugs that will benefit thousands of women battling breast cancer. Source: AAP

Expensive lifesaving drugs that can delay metastatic breast cancer progression by two years will soon be subsidised by the government, News Corp Australia reports.

Lifesaving drugs that can slow the progression of metastatic breast cancer by two years are likely to become available to thousands of women at a reduced rate.

The government's advisory board has recommended that the drugs Ibrance and Kisqali be subsidised, bringing the costs down from $5000 to $39.50 per month, News Corp Australia reports.

Plans to introduce a subsidy for Ibrance have twice before been rebuffed, with women reduced to using their superannuation funds or travelling aboard to receive the medicine at a cheaper rate.

The federal cabinet still needs to give a final green light to the expensive treatments but support organisation Breast Cancer Network Australia is hoping pharmaceutical firms will swiftly strike an agreement with the government on pricing.

"We are asking Greg Hunt to set a cabinet date as fast as possible and we are asking our members to write to their MPs," said BCNA director of policy and advocacy Danielle Spence on Saturday.

"People with cancer want to live longer but they also want to live well.

"Slowing the progression of the disease means they can spend time with their family, work and live as normal a life as possible."

The drugs would benefit the 2000 women with metastatic hormone receptor negative cancer, according to oncologist Fran Boyle.

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