From December 1st 2021 Australians with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) will be able to access venetoclax treatment via the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS). This will reduce the cost of treatment from $88,800 to $41.30 or $6.30 for concession card holders.
Approximately 1,100 Australians are diagnosed with AML each year. AML is a result of an overproduction of immature white blood cells. Because the blood cells are immature they are not effective at fighting disease and the overproduction causes the bone marrow to be crowd out. This results in an inability to produce platelets and red blood cells so anaemia and bruising often occur.
Venetoclax is a BCL 2 inhibitor. BCL 2 is a protein that leukaemia cells need in order to grow and divide, through the inhibition of this protein you slow disease growth, and can cause leukaemia cell death.
This announcement is very welcome news for AML patients.