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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

AstraZeneca, Vertex and Novartis secure PBS listings for June

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2024 |

Pharma News: Patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), cystic fibrosis (CF), and hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) are set to benefit from the latest additions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), effective as of June 1st.

AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso (osimertinib), now reimbursed for early-stage NSCLC in the adjuvant setting, has shown promising results in reducing the risk of death by 51% in patients with EGFR-mutated stage 1b to 3a NSCLC, as demonstrated in the phase 3 ADAURA trial.

Ben McDonald, Country President of AstraZeneca Australia and New Zealand, welcomed the PBS listing, saying “With the national lung cancer screening program to begin next year, patients need more treatment options for earlier stage diagnosis.

“Thank you to the Australian clinicians and patients that have been involved in the clinical trials for this indication, working tirelessly to have this treatment available on the PBS for this type of lung cancer.”

Additionally, the funding of Vertex’s Kalydeco (ivacaftor) will now include the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) in children aged 4 to 12 months with specific mutations, along with those aged 4 months or older with mutations responsive to ivacaftor. This new listing includes 83 additional mutations.

Sabrina Barbic, Senior Country Manager at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, hailed the expansion as a step forward for the CF community.

“It marks further progress towards our mission of providing treatment for all people living with CF regardless of age or genotype. We acknowledge the ongoing work of the CF community in reaching this milestone and the recognition of the value that our innovative medicines bring to people living with CF,” Barbic commented.

Novartis’ IL-17A inhibitor, Cosentyx (secukinumab), joins the PBS as the first new biologic treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) patients in around a decade, marking a significant milestone.

HS is a chronic, systemic and often painful skin disease that causes recurring boil-like lumps that may burst into open wounds and cause irreversible scarring. Until now this condition has been treated primarily with AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) or biosimilars.

Novartis asserts that Cosentyx is non-inferior in both efficacy and safety to adalimumab. Results from Novartis’ SUNSHINE and SUNRISE trials demonstrate promising reductions in HS lesions. Despite this, Cosentyx may face potential competition from UCB’s Bimzelx (bimekizumab).

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