From 1 September 2021, thousands of Australians living with schizophrenia, liver disease, lymphoma and anaphylaxis will have access to new treatments through new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
For the first time, Australians with schizophrenia will have access to the antipsychotic Reagila® (cariprazine).
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition with a wide range of symptoms and affects about 1 in 100 people.
The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, and symptoms usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. Generally a long‑term illness, schizophrenia cause serious disability if left untreated.
It is expect that over 39,500 Australians will benefit from this new treatment option. Without PBS subsidy, Australians might pay more than $1,200 per year for treatment.
In another first, Ocaliva® (obeticholic acid) is being listed from 1 September for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), a chronic disease which causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts within the liver.
Women are 10 times more likely to develop PBC than men and while there is currently no cure, treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and ease symptoms.
If left untreated and as liver damage worsens, primary biliary cholangitis can cause serious health problems, including liver cancer, liver scarring, high cholesterol and decreased mental function amongst other conditions.
Without PBS subsidy, around 890 Australians per year might pay more than $60,500 per course of treatment.
Anapen®, an alternative brand of adrenaline auto-injector, will also be listed on the PBS for the first time for Australians with anaphylaxis, the most severe form of allergic reaction.
When injected, adrenaline works rapidly to reduce throat swelling, open up the airways and maintain heart function and blood pressure.
In addition, Australians will also have access to a new strength of this medicine in the auto-injector form. Over 126,000 people would otherwise pay approximately $80 for this treatment without PBS subsidy
Australians living with previously untreated CD30 positive peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) will also benefit from the extension of Adcetris® (brentuximab vedotin) on the PBS.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body's germ-fighting network. PTCL is an aggressive cancer and affects both adults and children, however it is more common in those aged 60 years and over.
Around 65 Australians per year will benefit from this listing, which without PBS subsidy might pay more than $85,000 per course of treatment.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said since 2013, the Coalition Government had approved more than 2,700 new or amended listings on the PBS.
“This represents an average of around 30 listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $13.6 billion,” Minister Hunt said.
“Without PBS subsidies many Australians would be thousands of dollars out of pocket, instead they’ll only pay $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card for these medicines.
“The Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.”
These PBS listings have been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.