Date published: 
1 July 2019
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Morrison Government will provide affordable access to four new medicines through Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), helping patients living with debilitating and often life threatening conditions.

Under the PBS, treatment for diabetes, severe cystic acne, depression and lung cancer will be available to patients for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card.

The new PBS listings from today include:

  • Pemetrexed®, a medicine for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and mesothelioma will also have its authority level reduced to make it easier for doctors to prescribe. In 2018, over 950 patients accessed this medicine and could benefit from this change to the listing which will make it easier to prescribe. Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay up to $200 for each course of treatment.
  • Oratane® (isotretinoin), will be listed to the PBS to help treat the 21,000 people per year with severe cystic acne, providing doctors with an alternative for patients who require a lower therapeutic dose. Without PBS subsidy, this medicine would cost patients $43 for each course of treatment.
  • Phenelzine®, will be made available through the PBS for the treatment of patients with depression, when all other anti-depressant therapy has failed. In 2018, over 900 patients accessed alternative brands and are expected to benefit from this listing. Without PBS subsidy the medicine would cost patients around $800 a year.

Other new PBS listings from 1 June 2019 include:

  • Fiasp® (insulin aspart), a fast acting mealtime insulin that improves blood sugar control in adult patients with diabetes Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay either $124.24 or $206.59 per script depending on the form prescribed. In 2018, 126,000 patients accessed another form of insulin as part on the PBS and could benefit from this listing.

Every medicine was recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC. 

Our commitment to ensuring that Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.

Since 2013, the Morrison Government has listed over 2,000 new or amended items on the PBS. This represents an average of around 31 listings per month – or one each day – at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.

Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that saves lives.

Overall, the Government is also providing record funding for the health system including Medicare. In 2019-20 we will invest a record $104 billion in health, up from $75 billion seven years ago.

The Morrison Government’s health reform agenda will make health care more accessible, more affordable and more patient-centred. The four pillars of our long term national health plan are: guaranteeing Medicare and improving access to medicines, supporting our hospitals, prioritising mental health and preventive health and investing in health and medical research.