Media event date: 
21 July 2019
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Morrison Government is expanding access to a critically important medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) that will help infants living with Cystic Fibrosis and save their families up to $300,000 per year.

From 1 August, the medicine Kalydeco® (ivacaftor), will made available through the PBS for patients aged 12 to 24 months living with the condition.

Cystic Fibrosis is a recessive genetic disorder that affects the mucus lining of the lungs, which leads to breathing and other health problems.

This medicine is specifically targeted for people with Cystic Fibrosis that have a G551D mutation or other class III gating mutation in the CFTR gene and it lessens the viscosity of mucus in the lungs, helping patients to breathe more freely.

This listing will allow infants 12 to 24 months old to benefit from this medicine improving their health and quality of life.

Families will be able to access this medicine and will pay up to $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card. Without PBS subsidy, the drug could cost up to $300,000 per patient, per year

Approximately 280 children and adults above two years of age currently access Kalydeco through the PBS, but it has previously been unavailable for infants under two years of age.

In Australia, one in 2,500 babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis. It is critically important that children commence treatment as soon as possible.

The Government is also ensuring the continued supply of the antibiotic flucloxacillin by listing a new brand of this medicine for the treatment of serious staphylococcal infection and osteomyelitis, which are infections caused by a type of bacteria.

Over 525,000 patients accessed the previously available brand of antibiotic for this condition and will benefit from this listing.

Bicillin L-A® (benzathine benzilpenicillin), will also now have a new strength available for patients requiring treatment of infections due to penicillin-sensitive micro-organisms.

This medicine works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. Over 4,400 patients are expected to benefit from this listing and would otherwise pay over $150 per script without treatment.

Testavan® (testosterone) will also have a new strength available for patients with low levels of testosterone in their body.

This medicine replaces the body’s natural testosterone when not enough is made by the body.

Without PBS subsidy, over 10,500 patients would otherwise pay around $1,400 per year for this treatment.

These medicines were recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC

Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the independent medical experts.

Since 2013, our Government has made more than 2,100 new or amended medicines listings on the PBS.

This represents an average of around 30 listings per month, or one each day at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.

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