Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the review followed talks with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia over the subsidies and the price shortfall.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the review followed talks with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia over the subsidies and the price shortfall. Chris Ison

Review aims to give cancer patients affordable treatment

THE Federal Government will spend an extra $30 million to ensure chemotherapy services are delivered around the country, as it reviews the way the cancer treatment is funded.

Under the current system, some pharmacists and clinics providing treatment have been using the inflated price of a key chemotherapy drug to "cross-subsidise" treatment services.

The government subsidises the drug Docetaxel under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, but the real cost of the drug has dropped below the subsidy, with providers using the extra money to deliver services.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the review followed talks with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia over the subsidies and the price shortfall.

The price of Docetaxel fell when generic versions of the drug entering Australia's market, with some providers complaining they could not continue services with extra funds.

Ms Plibersek said the review would aim to create a sustainable funding model for the drug and to ensure patients could continue to get treatment at current rates.

She said the government would provide $29.7 million in the budget, due out next week, to pay providers an extra $60 for every treatment for six months.

The interim measure is expected to expire in December, while the findings of the funding review were due out in October this year.

Ms Plibersek said the government had been paying in some cases, $2800 above the market price for Docetaxel due to the "cross-subsidies".

Patients, pharmacists and service providers were invited to enter submissions for the review.

For more information, go to www.health.gov.au/chemo-review.



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