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

Posts Tagged ‘Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme

Arbiraterone (Zytiga) Update

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A better way

A better way

I thought I would advise readers and update the latest on the introduction of the drug Arbiraterone Acetate now known under its trade name Zytiga into Australia. Much of what I present here is borrowed material from regular sources I use for my own information. I decided to use this material and present it here for my readers, this is so they can understand a bit more on this subject concerning the importance of this drug to men with advanced prostate cancer. There is also a link to a petition for people to sign directed to the Federal Minister of Health Tania Pilberseck. I hope readers may take the time to go to this site and add their name to the petition.

This life-extending drug remains unaffordable for the more than 20,000 Australian men trying to live with advanced prostate cancer because its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is caught in bureaucratic limbo. Please keep in mind that more than 3200 men die from this disease each year or alternatively approx one man every three hours. At $3600 a month, the new treatment is beyond the means of most advanced prostate cancer sufferers, many of whom are retired and on fixed incomes.Advanced prostate cancer patients in Australia were given hope in November 2012 when the government’s own expert committee, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), recommended that Zytiga (abiraterone) be placed in the PBS, so it is available to men who have failed the chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel).

But the treatment has now become stuck in a bureaucratic limbo between the recommendation and approval for listing by the Federal Government. It is time that the Health Minister and Federal Cabinet approve a PBS subsidy without further delay, (the Federal Budget last Tuesday provided $691 million, allocated over five years for new listings or amendments to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Prior to the release of this drug advanced prostate cancer patients whose cancer had become castrate resistant and thus was progressing, had limited life expectancy. Chemotherapy was the final major treatment available to these men but at the cost of horrific side effects and was ineffective in approx 50% of patients. Chemotherapy is administered by infusion in hospital over a period of weeks.

The excitement about this new class of drug Zytiga is that it is far superior in prolonging life to a greater percentage of patients with far less side effects that are much more manageable. Administration of Zytiga is simpler than chemotherapy as it is given as daily tablet. For men towards the end of their life who only have a prognosis of eight to 12 months using chemotherapy, this is a very desirable option considering that patients who respond well to Zytiga, could live up to an extra two years with a greater quality of life.

The following information is a direct quote from Tony Musgrave and his blog site. Tony is an advanced prostate cancer patient and has been lobbying the Federal Government to approve Zytiga for inclusion on the PBS scheme, on behalf of all men who have this disease.

“To date 4,790 interested persons, patients and their friends and families, have signed my petition. It would be a great help if everyone could circulate this request to their other friends and contacts seeking even more support for this cause by asking them to sign the petition to the Minister at” . For more information see my blog:

Hold up your hand

Hold up your hand

Further reading:

Zytiga – Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Listing…0330-2h03z.html


Lee aka Popeye