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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 209

Senator Milne asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 28 November 2008:

(1)   Is Sunitinib malate (Sutent) listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

(2)   If Sutent is listed on the PBS, are there any short- or long-term plans to remove it from the PBS; if so, can a time frame of the plans be provided.

(3)   Is there an assessment process to determine whether Sutent is to be removed from the PBS; if so, what are the steps involved and the time frame for this process.

(4)   How many kidney cancer sufferers currently take Sutent in Australia.

Senator Ludwig (Minister for Human Services) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   No. At its July 2008 meeting, the PBAC recommended the listing of sunitinib on the PBS for the treatment of certain patients with renal cell carcinoma. This recommendation is an important step in the process of a PBS listing. There are, however, other processes that need to be completed before a medicine can be given approval for listing. These may include pricing negotiations with the manufacturer, finalisation of the conditions for listing, quality and availability checks and consideration by the Government.

(2)   Not Applicable.

(3)   Not Applicable.

(4)   The Australian Government maintains data relating to dispensing of medicines subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). As this medicine is not subsidised at present there is no data available.