Feb 2018

Katter puts support behind life-saving breast cancer drugs

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15 February 2018: KAP Federal Leader and Member for Kennedy Hon Bob Katter has written to the Minister for Health to add life-saving breast cancer drugs Ribociclib and Palbocicilib to the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS).

This comes in response to constituents who are facing otherwise dire breast cancer outcomes; but cannot afford the costs of the medicines which vary from $2,000 to $3,000 a monthly dose. One constituent has been resorted to travelling to Hong Kong every month to access affordable treatment.

“We are advised of the difficulties faced by cancer patients to afford the drugs for life saving cancer treatment. Many women simply cannot afford to buy drugs due to the high cost. Some drugs are subsidised in many countries around the world but are not offered here on the PBS scheme and for many they are life changing, giving patients more time and quality of life,” Mr Katter said.

“We are informed by our concerned constituents that the particular CDK Inhibitors: Ribociclib and Palbocicilib need to be listed on the PBS, so that Australian women who can benefit from them, can access them at an affordable price.
“There are many pressures on the women and families living with cancer as cancer treatments are not available in most small inland town's means travelling to the city hospitals. Therefore being away from their family support systems, their jobs, their farms, their lives for long periods of time is inevitable. On top of these demands women have to cope with exorbitant extra costs of these important drugs.
“It is imperative that the Government addresses the current system of supporting those with life threatening illnesses, which affects so many families in the community,” Mr Katter said.
“I have urged the Minister for Health 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 time to live. Overall survival is of course the ultimate aim of treatment but progression free survival or slowing down the course of disease is also important to women.
“Being able to delay the onset of chemotherapy and all of the associated toxicities and hospital visits that can bring, can make a huge difference to the lives of women with cancer,” Mr Katter said.
The PBS is part of the Australian Government’s broader National Medicines Policy to provide affordable access to necessary medicines for Australians. These drugs are already subsidised in many countries around the world but are not offered in Australia under the PBS scheme despite the fact these drugs can be life changing to patients offering them more time and quality of life.

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au