Our 1 in 17 risk of contracting melanoma influenced the PBAC decision to recommend PBS listing of Australia’s first effective medicine for metastatic melanoma, an aggressive and invasive disease with high clinical need.

Trials showed that ipilimumab (Yervoy®) extends survival from an average of 6 to 9 months, to 60% of patients alive after one year, and 10% after five years.

It achieves tumour cell death by enhancing the T-cell mediated immune response. This increased immune activity, however, can trigger severe and life threatening inflammatory reactions which may require discontinuation and/or high dose immunosuppressive therapy.

Ipilimumab may be used as first line therapy at doses of up to 3mg/kg every 3 weeks for a total of 4 doses.

Patients will each save over $110,000 per year in a risk-shared arrangement estimated to cost the government from $60-$100 million in year five, an acceptable expense given that chemotherapy has shown such poor outcomes and significant toxicity.

Bristol-Myers Squibb will demonstrate the veracity of trial evidence by committing to rebate any differences in cost between predicted benefits and actual outcomes.

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