The Government has announced last week that new PBS listings for life-saving and life-changing medicines are released from October onwards, which deems to benefit more than 500,000 Australians.
Cheaper medicine is on the way with price reductions for common scripts and new medicines added to the PBS including medicines to treat lung cancer, lymphoblastic and acute leukaemia, and nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Just last week, a media release from the Minister of Health announced that around 500,000 Australians will have access to cheaper medicines beginning from October 1, with price reductions for common scripts and new medicines added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), in some cases saving over $100,000 per patient.
Treatments for lung cancer, leukaemia, seizures or nerve pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and high cholesterol levels are listed on the PBS.
The extended PBS listings from October onwards include:
According to the Minister for Health Greg Hunt in an interview with Sunrise, the new inclusions will help save over $100,000 each year for some patients. Avastin, a breakthrough new medicine to treat stage four lung cancer, would have cost $189,000 without the subsidy. It will now help over 750 patients for only $6.50. More than 7000 patients will get access to a new medicine called Apotex for nausea from chemotherapy.
Ezetimibe for high cholesterol and Pregabalin for nerve pain are among the 15 other common drugs already listed will have their prices decreased. Ezetimibe helps over 300,000 Australians with up to $6 saving per script.
He also stated that this would overall generate a massive difference to the cost of living, with up to $60 or $70 in savings a year.
This can be seen as a great effort from the Government to make medicines more affordable to Australian. A report in 2017 by Grattan Institute found that Australian drugs in general cost 3.7 times more than the global benchmark. Particularly, Australia’s prices remain almost twice those of the UK, and 3.1 times higher than New Zealand’s.
The Government is also reducing the price on 175 different medicines, savings of up to $390 million which will be across areas such as high cholesterol, or extreme pain and over 500,000 patients will benefit from them.
This initiative has shown Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australians can have access to affordable medicines when needed. Additionally, from 1 January 2020, pensioners and concession card holders will enjoy a lower threshold to receive free or discounted medicines. Pensioners and concession card holders’ threshold will be reduced by 12 scripts and that of non-concession card holders will have the equivalent of 2 scripts.
What are your thoughts about the new changes in PBS listings? We would love to hear from you.
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