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News & Trends - Medical Technology

Medical oncologist launches petition calling on genomic test funding in breast cancer

Health Industry Hub | June 7, 2021 |
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MedTech News: An Australian medical oncologist has launched a petition calling on the Federal Government and Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health to fund genomic testing for breast cancer patients.

The aim of genomic testing is to help inform decisions about whether to use adjuvant chemotherapy after local treatment in early breast cancer or safely forego systemic therapy and its associated personal and societal burdens without compromising patient outcomes.

In 2019, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) updated their guidelines to reflect the use of biomarkers to guide decisions on adjuvant systemic therapy in early breast cancer based on data from TAILORx and MINDACT large-scale randomised clinical trials.

According to WA medical oncologist, A/Prof Tim Clay, for women with hormone receptor HR–positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer “Tests like Oncotype Dx, Mammaprint, Prosigna and Endopredict have been available for over a decade. These tests are an excellent tool that supports patients and their medical oncologists in making the best and the right choice in deciding their cancer treatment after surgery and sparing many the rigours of chemotherapy while supporting the few who truly benefit to accept the need for such treatment.

“The companies behind these tests have submitted to the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) many times to have their tests funded. Patients and their doctors do not understand why these valuable tests not available.  The out of pocket costs, ranging between $3,000 to $7,000 are out of reach for many Australians. This cost is cheaper than many oncology drugs funded on the PBS. Those who can bear the costs can give testament to the positive impacts on their lives.”

In a recent statement Specialised Therapeutics Asia CEO, Carlo Montagner, said “We have tried on multiple occasions to have this test [Oncotype DX] reimbursed for Australian women. Avoiding chemotherapy when there is no proven benefit to be derived can spare many women from experiencing six months of aggressive treatment, which can be traumatic and debilitating. In some cases, it can result in permanent side effects.

“It is unfortunate for Australian women with breast cancer that the Oncotype DX test is not reimbursed as it is in many other developed countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany and other European territories.”

In March 2021, Specialised Therapeutics Asia launched interest-free payment plans for patients to access the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Recurrence Score Test.

To sign the petition, click here.


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