Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme updates to start 2020

Amanda Lyons

6/01/2020 3:23:51 PM

The safety net threshold has been lowered, while a new drug that provides a treatment option for patients with advanced breast cancer has been added.

PBS updates.
The PBS starts the new year with a reduced safety net threshold and a new drug for patients with advanced breast cancer.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) rang in the New Year with a lowering of the threshold for the PBS safety net from 1 January 2020.
Once a patient has met the safety net threshold, they can apply for free or discounted medicines via the PBS for the rest of the calendar year.
‘The PBS safety net eases the financial burden on Australians who spend significant amounts on PBS medicines, such as people with chronic conditions,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said. 
The safety net thresholds have been lowered from:   

  • $390 to $316.80 for concessional patients
  • $1550.70 to $1486.80 for general patients.
 This change allows earlier access to free or cheaper medicines for more than 1.6 million patients, resulting in 12 fewer PBS scripts needing to be filled in a year before concessional patients meet the threshold, and two fewer for general patients.
Additionally, a new medicine has been made available on the PBS from 1 January: abemaciclib (sold as Verzenio) is designed to treat advanced or metastatic breast cancers in adult non-premenopausal patients.
It is estimated that more than 19,000 women and 160 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year. Approximately 3000 patients with breast cancer will be treatable with ademaciclib.
Patients accessing the drug via the PBS will pay $41 a script, or $6.60 for concessional patients. Without the subsidy, the drug would cost up to $55,000 a year.
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