Oncotype DX again rejected for Medicare subsidy

Oncotype DX was rejected for a government subsidy on February 20, even though it would mean thousands of women could avoid difficult cancer treatment.

The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) said there is not enough evidence to support a Medicare rebate for the test that can indicate whether a breast cancer patient needs chemotherapy.

“MSAC advised the Minister for Health that the evidence presented for Oncotype DX did not give the committee confidence that the test would identify those patients who could safely avoid chemotherapy or those patients who would benefit from adding chemotherapy,” it said in its report.

BCNA is disappointed the test has been rejected again, urging the companies supplying these tumour profiling tests to get together with the Government to find a way forward.

“Women and men with breast cancer want to get the very best treatment, but not at all costs. If we can identify those people who will benefit from not having chemotherapy, it is essential that we save them from over treatment,” said BCNA CEO, Kirsten Pilatti.

“Chemotherapy has a significant influence on a person’s life in treatment and well after their treatment has finished, ranging from loss of work to long-term cognitive side effects.”

Without a Medicare rebate the Oncotype DX test will cost Australians up to $5,000, which we know is out of reach for many. This test is widely available in the US and BCNA wants to see Australians have access to this important diagnostic tool.

For more information on Oncotype DX visit the My Journey online tool article on genomic testing (tumour profiling).

Issue 86
Autumn 2020