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Government has provided funds for new breast cancer treatments

31 October, 2006

The Australian Government will add two drugs for the treatment of breast cancer to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Commonwealth Government will add two drugs for the treatment of breast cancer to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

From December 1st, exemestane (Aromasin®) and letrozole (Femara®) will be listed for the treatment of hormone-dependent early breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Aromasin® will be available for patients who have already had a minimum of two years treatment with another breast cancer drug, tamoxifen citrate.

The listing of Aromasin® is expected to help more than 5,500 patients over four years at a cost to the Government of more than $10 million.

The listing of Femara® will be extended to include a group of patients who can already be treated with anastrozole (Arimidex®). The extended listing increases the treatment options available to doctors and patients.

This year, there have been several new and extended listings of drugs on the PBS for the treatment of breast cancer. This includes the listing of trastuzumab (Herceptin®) from 1 October 2006 at a cost of approximately $470 million over four years for the treatment of patients with HER2 positive early stage breast cancer following surgery.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and affects 14,000 people per year.

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