Head and Neck Cancer Australia is committed to keeping the Australian head and neck cancer (HNC) community informed about any new HNC treatment submissions to be considered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

The PBAC is an independent expert body appointed by the Australian Government that includes health professionals, health economists and consumer representatives.
The PBAC decides which medicines will be reimbursed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia. The PBS is the main mechanism via which the Government subsidises the cost of medications used by the community. Medicines can only be included on the PBS if recommended for listing by the PBAC.
November 2021 PBAC Meeting Agenda

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is an Immunotherapy – a type of treatment that works by stimulating the immune system to fight against cancer. Keytruda was previously considered by the PBAC in November 2020 but not recommended at that time as more information was requested by the PBAC. This information has been gathered, and a resubmission to request listing for the first line treatment of recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck has been lodged for consideration at the November 2021 PBAC Meeting.

The use of KEYTRUDA in this indication is dependent on the use of an associated test (PD-L1 testing in HNSCC), which needs to be approved by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC). If MSAC do not approve use of the test – the PBAC will not be able to approve the use of KEYTRUDA.


Have your Say - Consumer Comments

Part of the PBAC process invites consumers to make submissions about the PBAC application.  Since July 2021, MSAC has also invited consumers to make submissions about the  MSAC application. 

The personal story of a patient or carer, including how the experience of HNC has impacted them, is important in assisting the PBAC and MSAC in their decision making. Comments can be made by anyone in the HNC community, whether you're a patient or carer.  Click here for tips on submitting Consumer Comments.

Submiting a Consumer Comment to PBAC: Open from 28 July – 22 September 2021 

1. OnlinePBAC Website
2. Email direct to the PBAC at
3. Mail your submission to the PBAC Secretariat:
MDP 952,
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601

Submiting a Consumer Comment to MSAC: Open until Friday, 8 October

Please include the application reference number 1522.1 on your submission.

2. Mail:       
MSAC Secretariat - HTA Team
Australian Government Department of Health
MDP 960
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601