Date published: 
28 July 2018
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Almost 6,500 patients who suffer from particularly severe epilepsy will receive much-needed support with the Turnbull Government subsidising a life-changing medicine, saving families thousands of dollars each year.

From August 1, Perampanel will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for children older than 12 and adults with severe epilepsy.

This will save each patient and their family just under $5,000 each year and will now mean patients pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients.

Perampanel works by significantly reducing the frequency of seizures and fits, halving the frequency of seizures for many patients.

In a landmark clinical trial, it reduced the number of seizures experienced by patients by 76 per cent, with 31 per cent of patients completely free of seizures.

This will make such an important difference to the quality of life of both patients and their families.

The Turnbull Government’s strong economic management means we are providing Australian patients with access to life-saving and life-changing medicines faster than ever before.

This is in stark contrast to Labor’s approach, which delayed the listing of several medicines because they couldn’t manage their own Budget.

We are now making on average one new or amended PBS listing every single day and only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver for Australian patients.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain function that takes the form of recurring convulsive or non-convulsive seizures. It is a common condition that can develop at any age.

There are many causes of epilepsy, including brain structural abnormalities, infections, lack of oxygen to the brain or a brain injury, however, in over half of cases the cause is unknown.

The patients who will benefit from this drug have experienced sudden onset of muscle contraction and body stiffening, followed by a phase of rhythmic jerking of the face and limbs.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listing announced today.

The PBAC is independent of Government by law and in practice. 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 $9 billion worth of new medicines.

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

In the recent Budget we announced our commitment to invest $2.4 billion in new medicines to build on our commitment to guarantee those essential services that all Australians rely on.

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