Rilutek listed on the PBS from today
From 1 July 2003 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will include three new listings for the treatment of serious conditions the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, has said.
1 July 2003
Rilutek listed on the PBS from today
From 1 July 2003 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will include three new listings for the treatment of serious conditions the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.
Rilutek, a drug used for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, will be available on the PBS from today.
Motor neurone disease is a group of degenerative conditions affecting the nervous system. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the most common and arguably the most devastating form of these disorders.
"The listing of Rilutek means that patients suffering from this disease will have subsidised access to this medicine, subject to certain conditions" Senator Patterson said.
"The annual cost per patient for Rilutek is around $9,000 per year and the estimated cost to the PBS is around $8 million per year".
Also to be listed on the PBS from today is Enbrel, for the treatment of children with severe forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Enbrel will also be listed for the treatment of adult patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis from 1 August 2003.
"Enbrel represents a substantial advance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but comes at a cost of up to $25,000 per patient and is expected to cost the Government around $100 million per year" Senator Patterson said.
As previously announced the conditions for the current PBS listing of Mabthera will be extended from today to allow for the subsidy of Mabthera treatment in patients 60 years and over who have an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The extended availability of Mabthera on the PBS is expected to cost the Government around $28 to $30 million per year.
"Each of these new PBS listings has been implemented based on a recommendation made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. In each case the listing reflects the conditions that have to be met in order to qualify for PBS subsidy as recommended by this expert Committee" Senator Patterson said.
"Patients who feel they may qualify for treatment with any of the three new listings should discuss this with their doctor".
Senator Patterson said the PBS subsidised the new medicines making it affordable for patients. Health care card holders would pay $3.70 for each script until they reached the safety net. Each script would then be available at no cost for the rest of the year.
Other patients would pay $23.10 for each script until they reached the safety net threshold, after which they would have to pay only $3.70 for additional scripts for the rest of the year.
Senator Patterson said the PBS was a precious community asset, which gave all Australians affordable access to highly-subsidised medicines.
However, the scheme faces tremendous pressure with substantial growth over the past four years taking its total cost to more than $4.8 billion a year - a massive rise from $1 billion in 1990-91.
"The listing of these new drugs brings great relief to a number of Australians, but there will be continuing pressure to list more new, expensive drugs. The PBS is the fastest-growing item in the health budget. Doing nothing to tackle this growth is not an option for this Government" Senator Patterson said.
Senator Patterson has once again called on the Democrats, the minor parties and the Opposition to act responsibly and assist the Government to implement changes to help ensure the sustainability of the PBS.
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