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MSAC faces monster agenda

Posted 12 November 2019

The upcoming November MSAC agenda is one of the biggest the committee has tackled in recent history as it finds itself looking after more and more territory in the new medicines environment. 

While the most hotly anticipated submission on the list is for Gilead's CAR-T therapy Yescarta, the therapy is just one of 20 submissions down for consideration when it meets later this month - far more than its usual 10 or so. 

MSAC's August meeting considered 13 submissions while its March meeting looked at nine. 

In 2018, MSAC looked at 12 submissions in both its November and July meetings. The number of submissions considered at its March 2018 meeting is missing from the MSAC website. 

Meanwhile, the committee averaged 10.6 submissions per meeting in 2017 and 10.3 submissions per meeting in 2016. 

In the upcoming November monster meeting, the committee is looking at four submissions for companion tests to personalised cancer medicines considered in last week's PBAC November meeting. 

These cancer companion test submissions have steadily increased over the past few years as more of the personalised medicines classes such as PD-(L)1 inhibitors or CDK4/6 inhibitors make it to the PBAC.

The November MSAC will consider a test for Pfizer's new PARP inhibitor Talzenna with the drug attempting to be the first of its class to get PBS listed for BRCA-mutated breast cancer.

Class rival AZ's Lynparza also has an MSAC application to expand a companion test for the drug in high-grade ovarian cancer, while Takeda has made a submission for a companion test to Alunbrig, which was up in the November PBAC for ALK-positive NSCLC.

Janssen also has a test for Imbruvica in CLL and SLL up in the meeting. 

The committee is also looking at a major cost-effectiveness review of all immunoglobulins supplied through the National Blood Authority, with the first phase of the review being considered in this meeting. 

The review was initiated after it was found Australia, after the US and along with Canada, was in the top three users of immunoglobulin on a per capita basis. 

Yajun Ma

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