Mundipharma has welcomed the announcement that the anti-cancer medicine Folotyn® injection (pralatrexate) will be subsidised for patients following its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS).

Folotyn® is used to treat patients aged 18 years or older with peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) after previous treatments have failed or stopped working.

PTCL is a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a cancer of the lymphatic system), which occurs when T-cells, a type of white blood cell, multiply too quickly. T-cells may be found in the lymph nodes, skin, bone marrow, the liver, or spleen.

The medicine works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. It exerts anti-folate activity, which results in a disruption of DNA synthesis and subsequent tumour cell death.

David Austin was diagnosed with PTCL in 2016 and began free pralatrexate treatment, along with 46 other Australians, through the Mundipharma Medicines Access Program. Mr Austin’s wife Katrina Austin said access to subsidised Folotyn was positive for Australian families impacted by PTCL.

“What is needed in Australia is more subsidised access to the latest treatments globally as the development of new drugs is happening at lightning speed,” Ms Austin said. “We would love to see other drugs for rare diseases subsidised and particularly some of the newer treatments that leverage the immune system.”

Ms Austin said she was humbled to know that sharing her family’s story with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee would help other families access subsidised Folotyn.

Associate Professor Judith Trotman, MBChB, FRACP, FRCPA, Senior Staff Specialist and Director, Haematology Clinical Research Unit, Concord Hospital was part of Mr Austin’s treatment team:

“This PBS listing is wonderful news as it is the first time a drug has been reimbursed for all peripheral T-cell lymphoma patients. Outside of clinical trial participation it’s not easy to access emerging treatments for our patients. The access program provided valuable local experience, which ultimately supported subsidised access.”  

Jane Orr, Managing Director of Mundipharma Australia and New Zealand, said she was proud that Mundipharma could now provide Folotyn to all patients in need across Australia.

“PTCL accounts for seven per cent of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases and patients have had limited treatment options,” Ms Orr said. “I’m glad that more Australians will have access to this potentially lifesaving treatment.”