New drugs on PBS - a healthy focus for older Australians
Older Australians are set to benefit from several new drugs to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April.
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1 April 2005
Older Australians are set to benefit from several new drugs to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April. More than 150,000 patients will benefit from these new PBS drugs, including a significant number of people aged over 70 years with chronic conditions.
Stalevo® will assist about 1,000 patients per year with Parkinson’s disease. It is more convenient to use than current medicines as it is three drugs (levodopa, carbidopa and entacapone) in one tablet. Also, patients will pay only one co-payment instead of the three they may currently need to pay.
An extra 12,000 patients with glaucoma are expected to use Nyogel®, at a saving to the PBS of $18,000 per year. The savings result from patients expected to shift from higher dosages of older treatments to the new improved product.
People with diabetes will have access to Avandia® as part of a triple therapy with a sulfonylurea and metformin. This oral treatment will improve control of sugar levels and may reduce or defer the need to use insulin by injection.
Glucovance® is another combination treatment for diabetes which will be available for the first time on the PBS. This oral treatment improves compliance for diabetics by providing a regular and balanced dose of medicines and it is easier for older patients to manage, with less likelihood of confusion for those using multiple medications. Consumers will pay only one co-payment instead of two if their doctor prescribes the combined treatment.
Dementia patients with aggressive behaviour problems will have access to Risperdal®, a treatment already available for other mental health disorders. For an estimated 23,000 dementia patients by 2009, reduced incidence of aggression will be of great benefit to their quality of life and for their carers.
The PBS listing of Duatrol SR® and Panadol Osteo® will benefit many elderly patients with osteoarthritis. These are a slow release paracetamol, which patients will only need to take three times a day instead of four doses a day with the current versions. There are 40,000 patients diagnosed each year with this painful condition, and around 250,000 Australians with osteoarthritis at present.
Patients who feel they may qualify for treatment with any of the new listings should discuss this with their doctor. The PBS ensures that all Australians have affordable access to necessary medicines. General patients only have to pay $28.60 per prescription and concession card holders $4.60 until they reach the safety net threshold.
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
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