Historic PBS List for Australians with Bowel Cancer


Date published:

July 20, 2021

Type of support:

Press release


General public

The Morrison government is providing access to new treatment through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to help Australians diagnosed with colorectal cancer, a type of bowel cancer.

In 2020, bowel cancer was the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in Australia, with around 15,000 Australians diagnosed with the disease each year. Unfortunately, more than 5,000 lives are lost each year to bowel cancer, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in Australia.

For the first time, Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) will see its list expanded on PBS to include treatment of deficient colorectal cancer for repair of unresectable or metastatic mismatches.

This is the first immunotherapy treatment available for Australians with this type of cancer, which cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to an area outside the colon / rectum.

Keytruda® belongs to a new class of immunotherapy drugs that help the body’s immune system detect and fight cancer cells. The drug is already available on PBS for other types of cancer, including lung cancer and melanoma.

More … than 580 Australians per year will benefit from this list. Without the PBS grant, patients could pay more than $ 150,000 per treatment. Starting August 1, it will be available for $ 41.30 per script or just $ 6.60 if they have a concession card.

This list was recommended by the Independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Earlier this year, the government announced $ 9.7 million for a new awareness campaign for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

The campaign will aim to increase the number of Australians who take their free bowel cancer screening test and will focus on men aged 50 to 59, people living in regions and remote areas of Australia. , Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

When caught early, the majority (about 90%) of bowel cancers can be treated successfully.

Our government is stepping up cancer screening efforts to help more Australians get early treatment and beat the disease.

Since 2013, the coalition government has approved more than 2,600 new or modified announcements on the PBS.

That’s an average of about 30 lists or changes per month – or one per day – for an overall government investment of $ 13.2 billion.

The Morrison government’s commitment to ensuring Australians have access to affordable medicine, when they need it, remains rock solid. ‘

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