A treatment for cancer that saved lives at a price of more than $ 200,000 is about to become much more affordable for Australian patients.
Beginning next month, patients battling Hodgkin's lymphoma will pay less than $ 40 for the innovative Keytruda medication.
Typically, Keytruda would cost $ 200,000 per course of treatment, but the Federal Government's decision to include it in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Plan means that patients will not pay more than $ 39.50 per script. The patients of the concession will pay $ 6.40.
The immunotherapy medication helps the body use its own immune system to fight cancer.
The change will affect approximately 120 Australians per year.
"A drug that was out of reach for virtually every Australian will now be available to virtually every Australian," Health Minister Greg Hunt said at the weekend TODAY.
"Dr. Michael Dickinson of the Center Against Cancer Peter MacCallum says that inclusion will help patients whose cancer persists or has spread despite the existence of treatments
" Existing therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and cell transplantation MRIs work well for most patients, but for patients with classic Hodgkin's lymphoma whose cancer evades treatment, having a new treatment option to offer to our patients is good news. "
The drug has been available in PBS for advanced melanoma but not in cancer of the blood.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system.
With AAP.  9659014] © Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018