MS Research Australia welcomes the recent positive recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) regarding the inclusion of Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
This decision is the first step in a process which will now see the decision go before the federal Government Cabinet for final approval. If approved, it will then allow Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients across Australia access to this important new treatment.
The PBAC is required to consider a number of factors when making recommendations, including the clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a treatment, relative to other medicines, and the cost to the government of a new listing.
Although the PBAC have recommended Lemtrada as suitable for inclusion on the PBS, these recommendations must receive final approval by the Federal Government before the product can be subsidised and made publicly available.
Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) was previously approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in December 2013 for use as a first line therapy option for people with relapsing remitting MS who have active disease. Lemtrada is not recommended for patients with mild or inactive disease or those who are stable on their current therapy.
Please see our previous articles New study supports long-term efficacy of lemtrada and Two clinical trials of intravenous treatment alemtuzumab show encouraging results for more information on the evidence for efficacy and side effects of Lemtrada.
If approved for listing on the PBS, this treatment would provide another affordable treatment option for Australians with relapsing remitting MS. As people with MS respond differently to treatments and side-effect profiles differ, a wider range of treatment choices is a welcome development.