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New opioid overdose tool added to PBS will save Australian lives

The Australian Government has listed Nyxoid® – a nasal spray that works as an antidote to narcotics overdoses – on the PBS.

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

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A new nasal spray form of naloxone – a life-saving antidote medicine used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation – will be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 November.

Up until now Naloxone was required to be injected to reverse the side effects of an overdose.
The PBS listing of the nasal spray Nyxoid® will provide easier administration of this overdose antidote for people suffering an overdose and first responders, which could help save more Australian lives.

Nyxoid® blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.

Without subsidy Nyxoid® would cost over $48 per course but will now be available for as little as $6.50 per script with a concession card.

Every day in Australia three people die from drug-induced deaths involving opioid use, and nearly 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department admissions involve opioid harm.

Over 110,000 Australians are currently struggling with opioid dependence with increasing deaths from overdose, 1119 deaths in 2016.

Prescription opioids are now responsible for more deaths and hospitalisations in Australia than illegal opioids such as heroin.

The extended listing follows the Morrison Government’s commitment in the 2019–20 Federal Budget, and subsequent May 2019 election, of $10 million for a PBS subsidised Take Home Naloxone pilot in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

The Take Home Naloxone pilot aims to improve access and uptake of naloxone, by providing it for free and without a prescription, from a wide variety of locations including community and hospital-based pharmacies, alcohol and other drug treatment centres, needle and syringe programs, custodial release programs, first responders (police) and GP clinic access.

Nyxoid® will also be made available as an option for the Take Home Naloxone pilot.
The Take Home Naloxone pilot will target individuals who use illicit and/or prescription opioids who are at risk of, and/or family or community members who are likely to witness, an opioid overdose.

The Take Home Naloxone pilot is expected to commence from 1 December 2019 and run through to 28 February 2021, with a final report expected in mid-2021 to be provided to the Government as part of possible considerations for a national roll-out.

The listing of Nyxoid® on the PBS was recommended by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Since 2013, the Morrison Government has made more than 2,200 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.

Unlike Labor, we are listing all medicines recommended by the medical experts on the PBAC. In 2011, Labor stopped listing medicines on the PBS because they could not manage the economy.

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

We are able to provide unprecedented levels of support to health and medical research because of our strong economic management.


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