The PBS, having served Australians well for over 60 years, has not kept pace with technological advances in cancer treatment and clinical practice. As a result the approval rate of new cancer drugs is alarmingly low with Australian patients waiting longer than many other countries to access the same cancer medicine, in some cases up to 6 years longer.
The average time between TGA approvals to PBS listing has blown out to 31 months, from 15 months over the past 10 years.
Unlike many chronic conditions, cancer patients do not have the luxury of several years to wait for new advances to be made available – such delays are not only unacceptable clinically but are unacceptable to the community at large. Patients have been dying early because of delayed access to treatment.