New pharmaceutical listings on the PBS

From 1 May 2018, classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients will no longer pay over $200,000 per course of treatment, now paying a maximum of $39.50 per script or $6.40 for concessional patients.


Keytruda® is an immunotherapy medicine, part of the next wave of medical breakthroughs, working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them.


More than 120 Australians with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma will now access Keytruda each year at a drastically reduced cost.


This listing provides a new option for patients that cannot undergo, or have no response from, the normal chemotherapy treatment.


This medicine is already listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma.


Also being made available under the PBS are:

  • Opdivo®, a $1 billion drug to treat both locally advanced and metastatic stages of non-small cell lung cancer and a type of renal cell cancer.
  • Yervoy® for the treatment of unresectable Stage II or Stage IV malignant melanoma.
  • Giotrif® will be made available for over 220 people each year to treat advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. This medicine would otherwise cost patients over $33,550 per year.
  • Briviact®, an anti convulsant agent, will provide a new treatment option for patients with epilepsy. This will mean around 1,800 patients each year will save over $1,000.
  • Colazide® an intestinal anti-inflammatory agent will now be available with a larger maximum quantity on prescription meaning that patients will need to fill fewer prescriptions. Over 2000 patients could benefit from this listing.


Also being subsidised is Amino Acid Formula supplemented with Prebiotics, Probiotics and Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (Neocate® Syneo™) is a medicinal food that provides a new treatment option for infants (up to 24 months) with life altering food intolerances. It is expected over 2000 infants could benefit from this listing.


The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended each of these listings.

The Committee is by law and in practice, independent of Government in its deliberations. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from PBAC.


PBS listings are published on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, which is available through the PBS website at


17 April 2018.