ALTHOUGH it has come too late to help her father, Megan Barnes is elated at the news that the pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane will receive a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing that will mean it costs a concessional patient just $6 a script.
Megan Barnes of Caringbah South watched her formerly fit father, Brian Jones, 77, battle the disease for four months until he died in 2012.
She has called his illness a silent killer because for much of the time nobody could work out what was wrong with him.
His death galvanised her into action to try to make Abraxane more affordable.
"My father used to say I was good at putting pen to paper, and that's what I did," Ms Barnes said.
More than 25,000 people signed her online petition to the federal government.
Local federal MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, has just announced that Abraxane will be listed on the PBS from November 1.
Mr Morrison paid tribute to Ms Barnes's work in getting the drug onto the PBS.
He said the government had committed more than $92 million over four years to subsidise Abraxane on the PBS, and more than 1500 patients would benefit each year from the listing.
"This listing provides patients with a new treatment option that has demonstrated an increase in overall survival by about two months, compared with other treatments," he said.
"Without the PBS listing of this medicine patients would face an average cost of $16,000 for a course of treatment, at an average cost of $1300 per script."
The listing was recommended by the pharmaceutical benefits advisory committee in March and the details were agreed with the drug's producers in July.
The government had taken less than two months to consider the listing, making it one of the fastest approvals for a high-cost medicine in recent years, Mr Morrison said.
The federal government spends more than $9 billion annually to fund existing items on the PBS, with $1 in every $8 now being spent on cancer treatments.
All PBS listings are subject to final arrangements being met by the suppliers of the medicines.
Listing details will be published in the schedule of pharmaceutical benefits through the PBS website at pbs.gov.au.
Pancreatic cancer is the ninth-most-common cancer in men in Australia, and the 10th for women, with a low survival rate because it is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage.
In 2010, 2663 cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed in Australia.
What other drugs do you think should have a PBS listing?
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