Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Keytruda no. 17 and successful meeting with PBAC to fast track Keytruda on to PBS.

Hi all
Tuesday 23 Feb we returned from our Tasmanian holiday/retreat where we visit to regain strength to fight cancer by walking on the beach, relaxing looking out to sea and the lighthouse, reading a good book, meditating and spending time with good friends.  By doing this it focuses our mind and healing to calm the brain and immune system and to forget about medical appointments/treatments upon our return.

We flew in to Melbourne and by 10pm home.  I made an orange cake and went to bed at midnight.  Weds 24 Feb early start to Melbourne, an appointment with my oncologist Dr Allan Zimet to discuss results of recent scan - all okay as reported in previous blog posting.  Fairy floss nodules/tumours inside the lungs otherwise all okay and continuing to have good quality of life while being on Keytruda.

Across to Epworth hospital for overnight admittance of Keytruda infusion.  I escaped with Keith for lunch and a rest in Fitzroy Gardens where we both laid on the grass under trees and went to sleep for an hour or so as we were very tired from our late travel the night before! 


Keytruda later that evening and I wandered around the hospital for a couple of hours.  I was awake 5am Thursday and Dr Zimet did his hospital rounds 6.15am and I was discharged by 6.30am! 


A brisk walk and a tram ride to my daughter Jo's place to surprise her and family.  Jo turned a milestone birthday and I was lucky enough to be able to share her birthday that day and babysit the kids that evening while Jo/David went out to dinner to celebrate.  We sang happy birthday and ate my orange cake that 2 yr old little grandson Oliver helped decorate.

Home Friday and last few days I have been fatigued, due to Keytruda infusion no. 17 and also our weather has been quite hot and humid.

Keytruda successful meeting with PBAC to fast track Keytruda on to PBS.

Tuesday 1 March 2016, I had a very successful phone conference link up with Professor Andrew Wilson, Chairman of PBAC (Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee) and the Secretary Greg O'Toole to discuss my petition and fast tracking of Keytruda on to our Australian PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) which will mean the cost of Keytruda will reduce the current costs of $5,000 to $9,000 per Keytruda infusion and currently the patient has to fund this, to the Government PBS at a cost of $6 to $37 per patient per infusion of Keytruda.

A HUGE decrease in costs and a decision that will enable many more patients to access Keytruda for mesothelioma and other rare cancers.

Prof Wilson was aware of my petition and the need to fast track Keytruda and other immunotherapy drugs on to our PBS. Currently most new drugs have to go through years of testings and trials before they are approved for the PBS however in the case of Keytruda it will be assessed on its merits and on real life cases including mine and others who have had access to Keytruda.

He did say that PBAC have not as yet received a submission from MSD (Merck) pharmaceutical company who produce Keytruda. When they do receive a submission from MSD they will decide on its merits.

They are aware of limitations within PBAC and there are 2 processes to make decisions when these applications come to the committee. He mentioned the long process and said Keytruda would not have to go through this process, and they understand it can not go through the same sort of level and trials as other drugs, in particular for RLC including mesothelioma as there is not enough data.

So it is back to MSD to ask them to please put a submission in to PBAC.

PBAC once they decide that the drug is beneficial and safe, then they will advise the health minister to put it on the PBS.

I think my phone conference link up was very successful and it is now time to continue lobbying MSD, and your local federal members of Parliament to write to the health minister to put Keytruda on to our PBS.

We are getting closer to fast tracking of Keytruda on to our PBS!

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