Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Abiraterone (Zytiga) Update

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Approved Yes/No ???For those that may not be aware there has been some positive movement on acceptance of the drug Abiraterone on the PBS. Comments were sought from consumers (advanced prostate cancer sufferers) by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and these closed on 10th October 2012. I was fortunate in that I was able to personally submit a comment in support of this drug to become available on the PBS. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will meet again on the 7th 8th and 9th November to discuss the submissions and hopefully recommend to the Federal Government that Arbiraterone be available on the PBS.

Greg published a post here on the 8th July 2012 describing the benefits of this drug and interestingly he commented that the acceptance of this drug could be some time away. In hindsight, here we are just a few months down the track and how quickly things have moved. Isn’t it a good feeling to be able to say positive things about a government for a change. During the past few months the government has also approved a new drug Cabazitaxel (Jevtana) to go on the PBS and there are moves to consider approval to allow for use of and availability on the PBS of the drug Enzalutamide (formally known as MDV3100).

The cost of Abiraterone is approx $36000 annually per patient which would prohibit most patients from accessing it. By approving the drug for the PBS it would make it affordable for patients who have hormone and chemo resistant metastatic prostate cancer. There are approx 22000 men in Australia with advanced prostate cancer, of these at any one time 1500 will have resistant metastatic prostate cancer and currently these men have no where else to go with treatment. Abiraterone is not a cure but will substantially lengthen patients lives and provide an increased quality of life enabling patients to contribute to their families and the community.

There is also a push to have this drug on the PBS for patients who have incurable advanced prostate cancer without being forced into the chemotherapy scenario before having access to the drug. The argument here is that it is known that chemotherapy will fail at some point and the severe side effects of chemo are well known so why put a terminal patient through a useless stressful treatment just to be accepted for the superior Abiraterone treatment on the PBS.

Lee aka Popeye



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