Price of life-saving cancer drugs drops from $211,000 to $42

  • 15/04/2018
A cancer drug has been slashed in price.
A cancer drug has been slashed in price. Photo credit: Getty

A breakthrough drug used to treat a form of Hodgkin's lymphoma will dramatically drop in price from May.

Keytruda, an immunotherapy drug, will now be listed by the Australian federal government on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The drug used to cost AU$200,000 (NZ$210,900) for a single course of treatment. Patients will now be able to buy it for no more than AU$39.50 (NZ$41.70).

Those with concessions will pay just AU$6.40 (NZ$6.75).

Keytruda was listed on the PBS for advanced melanoma, but it was not available to those with blood cancers.

An estimated 120 Australians with Hodgkin's lymphoma will be helped by the reduced price each year.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told the Nine Network that the cost reduction is a major breakthrough in the country's healthcare system.

"A drug that was out of the reach of virtually every Australian will now be in the reach of virtually every Australian."