The Australian government has decided to include Genentech's breast cancer drug, Herceptin on its Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This means that the drug will now be subsidized throughout Australia.
Australia's Health Minister Tony Abbott confirmed that around 2,000 Australian women would be eligible to start using the drug annually. This move to provide subsidy will cost the government about A$470 million ($356 million) by 2009.
"The addition of Herceptin to existing treatment regimens will improve current treatment with a significant improvement in freedom from breast cancer recurrence," Abbott said in a statement. Herceptin is used in HER-2 positive breast cancer, which accounts for 25 to 30% of all cancers.
It is also known by its chemical name of trastuzumab.