New treatments for Australians with endometrial cancer and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Department of Health

From 1 June 2023, Australians with endometrial cancer and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome will have access to new treatment options through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) and lenvatinib (Lenvima®) will be expanded for use in combination to treat patients with advanced endometrial cancer whose disease continues to progress after prior therapy.

Endometrial cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer that occurs in the uterus. When diagnosed, women have an 85% chance of survival for five years, but this drops to under 20% when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

About 320 women each year will benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, they could pay more than $170,000 per course of treatment.

Cannabidiol (Epidyolex®) will be expanded on the PBS to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in patients who have not achieved adequate seizure control with at least two other anti-epileptic drugs.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that usually occurs in children between the ages of three and five years. It causes developmental delays and multiple types of seizures and results in significantly higher mortality rates than in the general population.

About 1,150 Australians will benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, patients and their families could pay around $28,000 per year of treatment.

These listings follow on from the new and amended listings in May, which included:

  • asciminib (Scemblix®) for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who have an abnormal (Philadelphia) chromosome in their blood and have previously been treated with similar medicines called tyrosine kinase inhibitors; around 300 patients each year will benefit and without subsidy, they could pay over $74,500 per year of treatment
  • ustekinumab (Stelara®), ozanimod (Zeposia®), and upadacitinib (Rinvoq®) will be listed on the PBS to treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. Last year, over 11,000 patients accessed comparable treatments through the PBS and without subsidy, these medicines could cost over $20,000 per year of treatment.

Since 1 July 2022, there has been additional funding approved for 94 new and amended listings on the PBS.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“These new listings bring the cost of treatment to no more than $30 per script.

“Listing these treatments on the PBS will improve lives for people with endometrial cancer and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

“We will continue to list new medicines and extend listings on the PBS to keep the cost of treatments down for those who need them most.”

/Media Release. View in full here.