Australian women will now have affordable access to Lynparza (Olaparib) for ovarian cancer maintenance treatment after the drug was included in the latest PBS list.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s budget speech on Tuesday announced that from November 1 2020, Olaparib, a drug that costs more than $140,000 per course, will be available for about $41 a month for general patients and $6.60 for concession cardholders. Olaparib has already been approved in treatment use for ovarian patients with a germline BRCA mutation, but this latest announcement includes financial support for patients receiving maintenance treatment.

The Australian government’s investment in new PBS medicines continues to grow, with more than 2,450 new or amended medicines listed on the PBS through an investment of more than $11.8 billion since 2013. The addition of Olaparib is welcomed by ANZGOG and its members, including Dr Alison Davis – a Medical Oncologist and Chair of ANZGOG’s Research Advisory Committee – who feels “confident that this [news] will have a meaningful impact on outcomes for our patients”.

“The announcement revealed that Olaparib will be listed on the PBS from November 1st for maintenance treatment for women with advanced BRCA-mutated (germline or somatic) high grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal carcinoma who are in response (CR or PR) to first line platinum-based chemotherapy. This is truly great news for our BRCA+ patients and with the ESMO 2020 update of SOLO1 reporting 48% of women receiving Olaparib were disease-free at 5 years- we can feel confident that this will have a meaningful impact on outcomes for our patients.”

Dr Alison Davis, Chair of ANZGOG’s Research Advisory Committee

How is Olaparib used in ANZGOG’s studies?

Olaparib is a PARP inhibitor, inhibiting poly ADP ribose polymerase, an enzyme involved in DNA repair.

ANZGOG are conducting a number of trials investigating different treatment strategies involving PARP inhibitors, specifically using Olaparib, with the hope to improve outcomes for women with ovarian cancer:

  • ICON9 is investigating the addition of cediranib to olaparib maintenance therapy following completion of platinum-based chemotherapy for platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer.
  • SOLACE2 is investigating different strategies to prime the immune system to enhance response to durvalumab and olaparib for platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer.
  • EMBRACE is investigating whether olaparib is effective in treating advanced ovarian and breast cancer in people who do not have inherited changes in their BRCA genes, whose cancers have homologous recombination deficiency.

For more information on ANZGOG’s trials, please head to our webpage.