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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

J&J Innovative Medicine campaign: The only local pharma entry shortlisted in Asia-Pacific awards

Health Industry Hub | May 21, 2024 |

Pharma News: Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine (Janssen) is the only pharmaceutical company from Australia to have its campaign shortlisted in the PR Awards Asia-Pacific.

This recognition highlights a whitepaper titled CAR-T-cell revolution: Is Australia ready, willing and able? Authored by Evohealth and funded by J&J Innovative Medicine, the content was developed with input from an advisory committee comprising clinicians, patients, patient advocates, policymakers, researchers, and delivery/implementation experts.

Multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, affects thousands of Australians and their families, causing significant physical, psychological, and financial strain. The whitepaper examines the current state of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in Australia, anticipated opportunities, and the healthcare system’s readiness to implement CAR T-cell therapy on a larger scale. It also provides an evidence-based economic analysis of the health and societal benefits associated with the therapy.

Recently, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) deferred its decision on whether to provide government funding for J&J Innovative Medicine’s CAR T-cell therapy, Carvykti (cilta-cel). This delay has left approximately 300 Australians with multiple myeloma in a state of uncertainty.

Since July 2022, MSAC has re-evaluated Janssen’s application and acknowledged the clinical superiority of Carvykti over standard care for adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) with at least four prior lines of therapy. Despite this recognition, MSAC has deemed a “substantial price reduction” necessary for public funding endorsement.

Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler MP has previously expressed optimism about the CAR T-cell therapy, stating, “The response is extraordinary, even better than the first CAR-T cell therapy for myeloma that was approved in America. That had good results, but these results from the Janssen drug are very, very good. We’re really just at the beginning of a completely new phase of treatments. These cellular immunotherapies, particularly CAR T cell therapy, are delivering new hope and saving lives for patients who otherwise would lose them.”

Support for Carvykti is substantial, with consumer and medical organisations such as The Leukaemia Foundation, Myeloma Australia, Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ), The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG), and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre advocating for its availability.

The whitepaper outlines seven evidence-based recommendations to ensure Australia’s healthcare system is ready, willing, and able to implement CAR T-cell therapy at scale within the next five years. Embracing these recommendations will ensure patients in need receive equitable and timely access to lifesaving therapies, positioning Australia as a leader in innovative care.

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