Funding cut for chemo drug causes alarm

"The government has miscalculated this completely," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Senator Xenophon was responding to reports that the cost of providing treatment to thousands of cancer patients could rise by $100 per infusion from 1 December.

The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) blames the increased cost on a 70% Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme funding cut for docetaxel.

The drug is used to treat breast, ovarian, prostate and lung cancer.

Senator Xenophon has spoken with concerned pharmacists, private hospitals and cancer patient groups about the decision.

He said the $50 million budget-saving measure could cause "absolute chaos" and inconvenience for up to 200,000 cancer patients.

"This is something that the government needs to reverse."

The APHA said the move could force patients to seek treatment in the public system if private treatment facilities were forced to scale back

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