Today, the Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced the listing of Kesimpta® (ofatumumab) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) from 1 October 2021.
Kesimpta® was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in March 2021 for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of MS. While the TGA approves the use of medications in Australia, it is up to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to recommend whether it should be listed on the PBS to make it affordable to all Australians. The PBAC is required to consider many factors when making recommendations, including the effectiveness and cost of a treatment relative to other available medicines, and the cost to the government of a new listing. Once a medication receives a positive recommendation from the PBAC, it is then submitted to the Federal Government for final approval.
MS Australia and its research arm, MS Research Australia, provided submissions in support of Kesimpta® to the PBAC, which has been shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in the treatment of MS. The submissions can be viewed here and here.
Kesimpta® is an antibody against a protein called CD20 found on the surface of B cells. B cells are immune cells involved in the damage to the brain and spinal cord in MS, and Kesimpta® targets these B cells for destruction. Kesimpta® is similar to Ocrevus® (ocrelizumab), another MS medication which also targets B cells carrying the CD20 protein. You can read more about Kesimpta® here.
Kesimpta® is now the 15th disease-modifying therapy for MS to be listed on Australia’s PBS and is a valuable addition to the repertoire of affordable medications available to all people with MS and their neurologists. Following the Minister’s announcement, those eligible for this medication will pay a maximum of $41.30 per script (or $6.60 for concessional patients).
As MS is a very varied disease, and everyone responds differently to different medications, the inclusion of Kesimpta® allows access to a greater range of medications to ensure the appropriate personalised treatment choice can be made for each individual’s circumstances. The addition of Kesimpta® on the PBS will also help alleviate the economic cost of MS to individuals, their families and the broader community. However, it is important that people with MS discuss any potential treatments with their neurologist or MS nurse. Please consult your neurologist to see if Kesimpta® is the right treatment for you. Decisions about treatments, taking into consideration the potential benefits and side effects for your individual circumstances, should be made in careful consultation with your healthcare team.
MS Australia supports affordable access to all proven treatment options allowing people of all ages with MS and their doctors to find effective therapies suited to their individual circumstances. For updated treatment information for Kesimpta®, please visit here.