Date published: 
26 March 2018
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Turnbull Government will drastically reduce the cost of medicines to treat diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma and eye disease with new additions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from April 1.

The 11 new and expanded listings mean Australian patients will save hundreds, and in many cases thousands of dollars, paying a maximum of $39.50 per script with concessional patients – including pensioners– paying just $6.40.

New and improved treatments for diabetes will be included in the April 1 listings, helping to address one of the biggest challenges facing Australia’s health system, with around 280 people developing the condition every day.

A new form of insulin glargine (Toujeo®) a longer lasting, higher strength insulin provides more options for patients to better manage their treatment through the day and night, reducing night time hypoglycaemia.

This new treatment option will be available to over 178,000 Australians each year. Without subsidised access, patients would pay around $1,820 each year.

Dapagliflozin (Forziga®), Dapagliflozin with metformin (Xigduo® XR), and Dapagliflozin with saxagliptin (Qtern®) supports triple oral therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, normally costing patients around $1,033 annually.

Empagliflozin and Linagliptin (Glyxambi®) provides another treatment option for use in triple oral therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Without a PBS listing patients would pay around $1,026 every year.

A number of current medicines for diabetes will also be expanded to help more people, including Empagliflozin (Jardiance®), empagliflozin with metformin (Jardiamet®), and linagliptin with metformin (Trajentamet®).

As well as Vildagliptin (Galvus®) and vildagliptin with metformin (Galvumet®), which will also be available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

We will also list a range of new medicines to treat cancer, including pralatrexate (Folotyn®) which will provide a new treatment option for T-Cell lymphoma, helping around 440 patients each year.

Atezolizumab (Tecentriq®) will now be available to treat locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. This will support around 2,000 patients who would normally pay around $99,104 per course of treatment.

And sonidegib (Odomzo®) will treat patients with basal cell carcinoma, helping over 900 patients each year.

In addition, methotrexate (Trexject®) will be available to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Without PBS listing, an average of 2,300 patients would pay around $1,093 annually.

A new brand of budesonide with eformoterol is also being listed to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and provides this combination of medicines to patients in a different inhaler device.

Dexamethasone (Ozurdex®) will now also be available to treat non-infectious uveitis (inflammatory disease of the eye). Without subsidised access, an average of 1,165 patients would pay around $2,753 per course of treatment.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended each of these listings.

The Committee is by law and in practice, independent of Government in its deliberations. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from PBAC.

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising more than $8.2 billion worth of new medicines.

Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Labor delayed the listing of seven vital drugs – leaving important medicines out of reach for many Australian patients.

Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system.

PBS listings are published on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, which is available through the PBS website.