New drug company pours profits into breast cancer research

The Breast Cancer Institute of	 Australia	CEO Soozy Smith welcomes launch of For Benefit Medicines. Picture: Supplied

The Breast Cancer Institute of Australia CEO Soozy Smith welcomes launch of For Benefit Medicines. Picture: Supplied

AUSTRALIA’S first philanthropic pharmaceutical company, For Benefit Medicines, will pour 100 per cent of its profits from the sale of two drugs commonly used to treat breast cancer into research and support.

The two drugs, aromatase inhibitor medications Anastrozole FBM and Letrozole FBM, will cost the same as current treatments and be available for dispensing through pharmacies nation-wide.

With annual sales of aromatase inhibitors in Australia exceeding $20 million, and the generic segment of the drug class comprising about 50 per cent of market share, For Benefit Medicines plans to capture and inject millions of dollars into patient support and medical research.

Specifically, the money made from their sale will be directed to the to Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA).

Breast Cancer Network Australia chief Christine Nolan, whose organisation comprises more than 100,000 members, or 90 per cent of whom are women diagnosed with breast cancer, welcomed the initiative on Wednesday.

‘’An estimated 15,600 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year, while the projected number of deaths from the disease will exceed 3,000,” Ms Nolan said.

“While fundraising constitutes the mainstay of our revenue, having an initiative that provides a constant, daily stream of financial support, is both remarkable and warmly embraced. A simple change in prescription will help ensure that no Australian has to face breast cancer alone.   

The chief executive officer of the Newcastle-based Breast Cancer Institute of Australia, Dr Soozy Smith, said it was a unique business model which put the focus on improved health outcomes in the community by making breast cancer research and support a priority.

‘’Funding is vital to ensure our researchers can pursue the answers to important scientific questions and improve outcomes for people at risk, or diagnosed with breast cancer,’’ Dr Smith said.