News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Roche’s haemophilia treatment available at no cost to patients

Health Industry Hub | September 28, 2020 |
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Pharma News: The Australian government have agreed to fund a new treatment for haemophilia patients, through the national blood arrangements.

Roche’s Hemlibra (emicizumab) for haemophilia A will be made available to eligible patients free of charge through the National Blood Authority (NBA), which is jointly funded by the Australian Government and all states and territories.

This breakthrough treatment would be out of reach for most people at over $675,000 per year, however with funding from governments this will now be available for free for eligible patients.

Approximately 800 patients are expected to benefit each year. These patients can suffer life-threatening and severely disabling internal bleeding and joint damage as their blood does not clot.

Hemlibra is a recombinant, humanised, bispecific immunoglobulin G4 monoclonal antibody that substitutes for part of the cofactor function of activated factor VIII (FVIIIa) by bridging activated factor IX(FIXa) and factor X(FX). It is indicated for routine prophylaxis to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in adults and children with haemophilia A with and without factor VIII inhibitors.  

Currently, these patients require frequent intravenous infusions with clotting factor. If they develop antibody responses to this treatment, they require high cost bypassing agents.

Hemlibra is easier to administer and is only required by patients once a week compared with more frequent and more intrusive alternatives. It is also more effective than current clotting products in reducing bleeding incidents when patients have problems with antibodies.

The National Blood Authority is currently finalising arrangements with Roche, with 63% of costs to be funded by the Australian Government, and 37% by states and territories.

Regular supply of Hemlibra is expected to be available by December 2020.

The haemophilia community has called for this treatment to be provided through the NBA to ensure better treatment is available for affected individuals and families.


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