More Australian women will have access to a preventative breast cancer drug that has today been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Federal Government says.
The drug, known as Tamoxifen or Novaldex-D, which had until now been used only as a breast cancer treatment, could cut the risk of getting the disease by 30 to 40 per cent.
Previously, only women who were actually suffering from a certain type of breast cancer could access subsidies for the medication.
But Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said that system had now been broadened to include women who were also at a moderate to high risk of getting breast cancer.
“The drug Tamoxifen will be available on the PBS from today and it’s part of a risk reduction strategy in a really important area of cancer,” the Minister said.
“The pharmaceutical company that’s developed Tamoxifen has provided additional evidence, additional research to make it available to women who don’t have breast cancer but are at high risk of contracting it.”
The Government said evidence from the makers of the drug had shown that if you take Tamoxifen for five years, it substantially reduces your risk by as much as 30-40 per cent, even after you stop taking it in a preventative way.
Ms Ley said the drug was the first preventative breast cancer treatment to be listed on the PBS, amid expectations that more than 16,000 new cases of breast cancer would be diagnosed this year.
“This month is breast cancer awareness month, so I’m making sure we get the message out about screening and treatment,” Minister Ley said.
This PBS month’s listing also includes new drugs for type 2 Diabetes, HIV and psoriasis.