Breast Cancer Australia

Breast Cancer Prevention Drug Tamoxifen Listed on the PBS

Media Release - 01/10/2016

Thousands of Australian women will benefit from today’s announcement that the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen has been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The drug Nolvadex (also known generically as Tamoxifen) is a well-established drug for certain breast cancers and aims to reduce breast cancer from occurring in women at high risk. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 women will benefit from the announcement today by the Australian Government.

The results from international clinical trials research, conducted in Australia by the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG), proved the benefits of Tamoxifen and has played a significant role in today’s announcement. Extended analysis of the IBIS-I clinical trial found that the preventive effect of the drug continues for 20 years, after treatment with Tamoxifen has stopped, with breast cancer rates reduced by around 30%. This trial received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The ANZBCTG’s Director of Research and IBIS-I Study Chair, Professor John Forbes AM, said today’s announcement is further recognition of the importance of breast cancer clinical trials research.

“The aim of clinical trials is to find new and improved treatment options and preventative therapies, that are more effective than those currently accepted as the best available standard treatment,” said Professor Forbes.

“Today’s announcement is a great opportunity to acknowledge the researchers and clinicians across Australia and New Zealand, and women who have participated in clinical trials, whose collaboration in clinical trials has resulted in improved outcomes for all women.

“Not only will Australian women have access to subsidised Nolvadex to reduce their lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, but there will also be a reduced cost to the health system with less women needing breast cancer treatments.”

Approximately 16,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year and one in eight women will be diagnosed by the time they turn 85.1

For almost 40 years, the ANZBCTG has conducted a national clinical trials research program for the treatment, prevention and cure of breast cancer. The ANZBCTG’s research program involves multicentre clinical trials, with 86 institutions and over 700 researchers throughout Australia and New Zealand. More than 14,000 women have participated in ANZBCTG breast cancer clinical trials. The fundraising department of the ANZBCTG is the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA). For more information about the ANZBCTG, visit the website

Media contact:
Anna Fitzgerald, ANZBCTG Communications Manager
Ph:  02 4925 5255 or 0400 304 224 or Email:

1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2012. Breast Cancer in Australia: An Overview.