PBS boost brings welcome inclusions
New listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) could save diabetics thousands of dollars a year.
Bydureon - a once-a-week injection for people with type 2 diabetes - will soon be on the list, saving eligible patients about $1,600 a year.
Health Minister Sussan Ley is announcing the inclusion of Bydureon this week, one several new medicines to be included on the PBS.
The millions of dollars it costs to include these drugs on the list appears to have beeng gained in part by charging existing PBS users more.
“This is easier, it's cheaper and most importantly for people with type 2 diabetes, up to 20,000 who can benefit from this treatment, it will avoid long term complications,” Ms Ley said.
“Unfortunately Australia has a very high rate of diabetic amputations, all of which are avoidable.
“This is part of our government's commitment to listing medicines without fear or favour on the PBS, once advised by our expert committees.”
Coalition MP Steve Ciobo says the drugs for cervical cancer and other life-threatening illnesses being placed on the list will have a big positive health impact for many Australians.
“We are bringing into place new medicines that will have a beneficial impact, especially around type 2 diabetes, we will see patients potentially going from having to have two injections a day to only one per week,” he told the ABC.
“The impact... on the Australian community is of course very significant.”
Reports say the Government spent around $60 million listing the drug Avastin on the PBS as well, which will help for women who do not respond to other cervical cancer treatments.
Millions more have been set aside for a drug to treat the rare condition Acromegaly, which causes abnormal growth of the hands, feet and face.
Ms Ley said the money came from new efficiencies the Government has been able to find in the PBS.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King welcomed the new listings, but criticised Ms Ley’s methods.
“She wants to make medicines unaffordable for a whole range of other patients,” Ms King said.
“What this Government is intending to do is increase the cost of the pharmaceutical benefits, your every script, by $5 for general patients and $0.80 for concessional patients.
“We know already that there are patients who are not filling their scripts because they can't afford to do so.
“They're going to the pharmacist and saying; ‘Which one of these can I afford … to do without this week?’, because of [the] cost already.”