Review of Life Saving Drugs Programme

The Australian Government will review the Life Saving Drugs Programme - a move aimed at ensuring that Australians with very rare conditions continue to have subsidised access to much-needed, expensive medicines.

Page last updated: 09 April 2014

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9 April 2014

The Australian Government will review the Life Saving Drugs Programme - a move aimed at ensuring that Australians with very rare conditions continue to have subsidised access to much-needed, expensive medicines.

The review, to be conducted by health experts, consumer representatives and an ethics advocate, is expected to be completed within 12 months.

Patients currently treated through the Life Saving Drugs Programme will continue to receive access to treatment.

New patients can continue to apply for access to treatment.

Applications for new medicines seeking listing will continue to be considered throughout the review period.

Last year (2012-13), 228 eligible patients had subsidised access to expensive, lifesaving medicines for the very rare life-threatening conditions.

The review will examine important issues such as access and equity, value for money and the future administration of the programme.

Health Minister Peter Dutton said the LSDP was an important programme and it made a huge difference in the lives of those who need it.

"The post-market review of the LSDP is an opportunity to review the current programme in order to ensure that Australians with very rare conditions continue to have subsidised access to much needed, expensive medicines now and into the future," Mr Dutton said.

"The review is an opportunity to update clinical efficacy and safety data for treatments currently subsidised and incorporate new and emerging evidence.

"By ensuring this programme is as efficient and evidence-based as possible, we are ensuring that people who need these drugs will be able to access them," Mr Dutton said.

The review will also examine the existing Life Saving Drugs Programme Criteria and Conditions for Funding, identify processes to facilitate data collection for rare diseases and look at ways to better engage with consumers.

In keeping with the Government's deregulation agenda, the Department of Health will also simplify requirements for patients and specialists seeking access to subsidised treatment through the programme.

The activities of the Disease Advisory Committees will be discontinued.

This will allow the small group of experts who work in this area to participate fully in the post-market review of the programme and to advocate on behalf of their patients.

The terms of reference of the review will be available on the Department's post-market reviews website.

Media Contact: John Wiseman – 0401 776 108

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