Melbourne, Australia, 15 March 2021: BREAST cancer patients who wish to have a genomic test that may help them to avoid chemotherapy can now take out interest-free payment plans of up to two years to pay for the test, following an exclusive arrangement between independent pharmaceutical company Specialised Therapeutics Australia (STA) and Latitude Finance.
This partnership represents what is believed to be the first time an Australian pharmaceutical company has engaged with a third-party financial institution to help patients fund access to a breast cancer technology like the Oncotype DX® test, but is expected to pave the way for similar opportunities due to a lack of Federal Government funding for many therapies commonly available in other countries.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Australian women who decide to take an Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test can now use an interest-free two-year payment plan to help afford the $5000 one-off test, which has been shown in large randomised clinical studies published in leading medical journals to identify the majority of breast cancer patients who do not benefit from chemotherapy.1,2 Patients will pay no interest, provided monthly repayments of up to ~$208.00 are met.
STA Chief Executive Officer Mr Carlo Montagner said the new finance option followed six “frustrating” attempts to have the Oncotype DX test reimbursed by the Federal Government for all eligible breast cancer patients, as is the case in many countries around the world.
“We have tried on multiple occasions to have this test reimbursed for Australian women. These efforts are ongoing, but we trust that in the interim, this new third-party finance arrangement will help many breast cancer patients afford this important technology which in turn, may help them to avoid chemotherapy,” he said.
“Avoiding chemotherapy when there is no proven benefit to be derived can spare many women from experiencing six months of aggressive treatment, which can be traumatic and debilitating. In some cases, it can result in permanent side effects.
“It is unfortunate for Australian women with breast cancer that the Oncotype DX test is not reimbursed as it is in many other developed countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany and other European territories.
“In those countries, it is widely used. The Oncotype DX test is recommended by the leading international cancer treatment guidelines as a test to help guide decisions about whether a woman actually needs chemotherapy or whether she can be treated with hormone therapy alone.”3-6
An Oncotype DX test currently costs Australian women $5,000. It is marketed by STA under exclusive license from US-based Exact Sciences and is appropriate for women who have been diagnosed with early breast cancer, whose cancer is hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative and has up to three positive lymph nodes.1,2
However, the lack of reimbursement has placed it out of reach for many women, who have gone on to endure chemotherapy – sometimes unnecessarily.
Mr Montagner added: “Without Federal Government funding and without accessible personal savings, hundreds of Australian women have been unable to afford this important test.
“As a company and a community, we must find new ways for all Australians to access new therapies and technologies that are recommended by their specialist doctors but are not reimbursed. This is a step in the right direction. STA is proud to partner with Latitude Finance, which has an established presence in healthcare and is now extending its offering in this space due to strong patient demand.”
Women who opt for an Oncotype DX test have a tumour sample taken during their first breast cancer surgery, which is sent to a US specialist laboratory for analysis. The sample is screened for 21 specific genes and this information has been proven to accurately inform a woman’s long-term risk of a breast cancer recurrence, as well as the likely benefit of chemotherapy treatment, over and above standard hormone therapy alone.1,2
Interest-free payment plans to access the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Recurrence Score Test will be available from 15 March.
Emma Power, Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager, Specialised Therapeutics Asia +65 3158 9940 or +61 419 149 525 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialised Therapeutics is an international biopharmaceutical company established to commercialise new therapies and technologies for patients in Australia, New Zealand and across South East Asia. ST and its regional affiliates collaborate with leading global pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to bring novel, innovative and life-changing healthcare solutions to patients affected by a range of diseases. Its mission is to provide therapies where there is an unmet need. The company’s broad therapeutic portfolio currently includes novel agents in oncology, haematology, neurology, ophthalmology and supportive care. Additional information can be found at www.stbiopharma.com
The Oncotype DX portfolio of breast, colon and prostate cancer tests applies advanced genomic science to reveal the unique biology of a tumor in order to optimize cancer treatment decisions. In breast cancer, the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test is the only test that has been shown to predict the likelihood of chemotherapy benefit as well as recurrence in early stage, hormone-positive, HER2- invasive breast cancer. Additionally, the Oncotype DX Breast DCIS Score® test predicts the likelihood of recurrence in a pre-invasive form of breast cancer called DCIS. In prostate cancer, the Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score® test predicts disease aggressiveness and further clarifies the current and future risk of the cancer prior to treatment intervention. With more than 1 million patients tested in more than 90 countries, the Oncotype DX tests have redefined personalized medicine by making genomics a critical part of cancer diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about Oncotype DX tests, visit www.OncotypeIQ.com (US website).
NOTE: Oncotype DX, Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score, Oncotype DX Breast DCIS Score, and Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score, and Oncotype DX AR-V7 Nucleus Detect are trademarks or registered trademarks of Genomic Health, Inc. Exact Sciences and Cologuard are trademarks or registered trademarks of Exact Sciences Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
1. Sparano JA et al. N Engl J Med. 2018; ;379(2):111-121
2. Kalinsky K et al, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2020 Presentation GS3-00
3. NCCN Guidelines Insights: Breast Cancer, version 3.2018
4. IQWIG Press Release, September 2018
5. NICE Diagnostics Guidance DG34 December 2018
6. Burstein et al. Ann Oncol. 2019 ; 30(10) : 1541-1557
Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score Test® and Oncotype DX® are registered trademarks of Exact Sciences, Inc. Oncotype DX® is under license from Exact Science Inc.