Haematologist slams ‘treatment lottery’ for amyloidosis patients

Australian patients with amyloidosis face a lottery where they may be denied effective medication depending on how strictly their physician interprets the letter of PBS rules, a haematologist has told a parliamentary inquiry.

Dr Peter Mollee, head of the Myeloma Service and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Amyloidosis Centre in Brisbane, told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health that the system was unfair and should be urgently addressed.

He said there was no TGA-approved, PBS-listed therapy for AL amyloidosis, the most life-threatening of the amyloidosis diseases.

However, some doctors would prescribe chemotherapy-based treatments for the condition which were approved for treatment of myeloma, a related blood cancer.

“There are many effective treatments based on chemotherapy for a related blood cancer called myeloma, but access is inequitable. A newly diagnosed patient may have their treatment funded by one hospital or be in a hospital five kilometres away where local funding is not available.”

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