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Reflux treatment among medicines added to PBS


Matt Woodley


26/09/2022 4:34:58 PM

Medication for a host of conditions will be newly subsidised from October, potentially generating $130 million in out-of-pocket savings.

Patient receiving prescription from GP.
Patients will soon have access to cheaper medicines for migraines, psoriatic arthritis, breast cancer, stomach ulcers and bipolar disorder.

Patients will soon have access to cheaper medicines for migraines, psoriatic arthritis, breast cancer, stomach ulcers and bipolar disorder, after the Federal Government announced additions to the PBS from next month.
 
The changes, which come into effect on 1 October, are expected to result in more than $130 million in out-of-pocket savings for Australian patients and almost $930 million in savings for taxpayers, according to a Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) release.
 
‘Listing these drugs on the PBS will improve the lives of thousands of Australian patients and their families,’ Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said.
 
‘We will [also] cut the cost of medications for millions of Australians by reducing the PBS co-payment from the current maximum of $42.50 per script, to a maximum of $30 per script from 1 January 2023.’
 
According to the release, up to 500,000 patients with stomach ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease will pay a maximum of $26.74 per script for esomeprazole 40 mg tablets, a saving of up to $6.84 per script.
 
Other additions will see:

  • more than 60,000 patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder given access to scripts for quetiapine 200 mg tablets at a cost of $28.42, a saving of up to $6.22 per script
  • more than 20,000 migraine sufferers and people with epilepsy paying $34.90 per script for topiramate 200 mg tablets, a saving of up to $6.63. Similarly, scripts for the antiepileptic drug lamotrigine 200 mg tablets will cost $33.45, which represents a saving of up to $4.66
  • around 15,000 patients suffering from severe psoriatic arthritis who are prescribed leflunomide 20 mg tablets paying $37.19 per script, a saving of up to $5.31 per script
  • women using anastrozole to inhibit the progression of breast cancer saving up to $2.36 per script. Around 13,000 patients per year can now expect to pay $22.07 per script for a 1 mg tablet.
Medicines aimed at treating types of cancer and growth hormone deficiency in children will also be added, including pembrolizumab (sold as Keytruda), which will be expanded to treat patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
 
An average of 500 patients per year could benefit from this expanded listing, without which they would be facing more than $135,000 in medical costs per course of treatment.
 
The announcement came on the same day that Minister Butler promoted a plan designed to cut the price of everyday medicines.
 
Minister Butler said the draft legislation, which will be debated in Parliament this week, could be the trigger for the ‘biggest cut to the cost of medicines for Australian households in the 75-year history of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme’.
 
‘This is not just a great thing for the hip pockets for millions of Australian patients,’ he said.
 
‘It’s also good for their health, because the ABS [Australian Bureau of Statistics] has told us that as many as 900,000 Australians every single year choose to go without medicines their doctor has prescribed for their health.
 
‘And pharmacist after pharmacist has told me of stories of their customers coming into their pharmacy and putting a number of scripts on their counter asking for advice about which ones they can go without because they can’t afford to fill all the scripts.
 
‘I’m really looking forward to the debate in the House and then in the Senate [about] this important legislation.’
 
More information on the medicines due for PBS listing is available online.
 
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