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New medicine to improve the lives of more than half a million Aussies

More than half a million Australians with severe breathing difficulties from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are set for a boost with the listing of a new medicine which significantly improves their lung capacity.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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More than half a million Australians with severe breathing difficulties from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are set for a boost with the listing of a new medicine which significantly improves their lung capacity.

COPD is a progressive disease which causes shortness of breath, coughing and excess mucus production. Patients describe their daily battle as like trying to breathe through a straw.

From June 1, the Turnbull Government will make Trelegy available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for up to 600,000 patients with moderate to severe obstructive pulmonary disease.

Instead of paying $1,200 per year, the listing will now mean patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including older Australians, who make up the bulk of the patient group.

One in every 13 Australians over the age of 40 will develop COPD to point where it affects their daily life.

The condition is the second most common cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia. It is also a leading cause of death and disease burden after heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Trelegy is a new triple combination inhaler which improves quality of life, boosts lung capacity and reduces the number of severe attacks of breathlessness.

A landmark three year study of over 10,000 COPD patients around the world, one of the biggest studies ever conducted, found Trelegy’s use also reduced hospitalisations by 34 per cent.

This new medicine will give hundreds of thousands of Australian patients a new lease on life. It will make things they do every day, like play with their grandchildren, so much easier.

The Turnbull Government’s commitment to list life-saving and life-changing medicines is rock-solid and we will continue to provide more and more medicines to patients. This is in stark contrast to Labor’s approach.

We are now listing one drug every single day. Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver for Australian patients.

We will also make several other important medicines available on the PBS from June 1, with patients now only paying a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients–including pensioners–paying just $6.40.

Trulicity will be a new treatment option for Australians with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, where the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.

Unlike many other injectable medications for type 2 diabetes such as insulin, which typically require administration several times a day, Trulicity is injected on a weekly basis, in a single use, prefilled, auto-injector pen. The patient never has to see or touch a needle, a first for PBS-listed injectable diabetes medications.

This single use, once per week injection will provide patients with greater convenience and flexibility. It will save patients around $1,700 per year.

Cabometyx is a new treatment for patients with Stage IV clear cell variant renal cell carcinoma who are not responding well to existing first-line treatments.

Without the subsidy, Cabometyx would cost patients around $129,800 a year. This will support around 500 patients each year.

Simponi will be listed for patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, saving them around $15,800 per year. This provides another treatment option for Australians with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis, administered every four weeks to help manage the debilitating symptoms of the disease.

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

The Committee 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 PBAC.

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

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

This includes a new $1 billion provision to maintain our commitment to listing all new medicines recommendation by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

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

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