This content relates to a former minister

Thousands to benefit from spinal arthritis medication listing on PBS

The Morrison Government will make a medication for severe inflammatory spinal arthritis more affordable when it is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), saving patients more than $15,000 a year.

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

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Almost 4,000 patients who suffer from active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis will benefit when Simponi® (Golimumab) becomes available on the PBS on December 1.

Patients who would have had to pay over $1,300 per script will only pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, or only $6.40 if they have a concession card.

The Morrison Government has also negotiated immediate compassionate access for patients, meaning those who need it most will have access to the medication without having to wait until it’s listed on the PBS.

The condition results in back pain, fatigue and stiffness which could lead to abnormal stiffening and immobility of the joints. Damage is progressive and irreversible and there is increased risk of spinal fracture later in life. Over time, permanent damage to spinal mobility and function occurs.

Simponi® helps reduce inflammation, swelling and joint destruction for some patients, by blocking inflammation through changes to the patient’s immune system.

The medication will be of particular benefit to patients who are no longer able to relieve the inflammation and pain using conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Often called the hidden form of arthritis, non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis typically affects young adults with symptoms similar to a sporting injury which may not be detectable through X-ray, which means the condition may remain undiagnosed for many years. An MRI or blood test is often used to diagnose the condition.

This listing will save families thousands of dollars and help patients manage their condition and improve their quality of life.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended this listing.

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 close to $10 billion worth of new medicines. The Morrison Government is now averaging around 31 new or amended PBS listings per month, or one per day.

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

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.

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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