Australians benefit from cheaper medicines on the PBS

Australians with high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease and ovarian cancer now have access to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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Australians with high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease and ovarian cancer now have access to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

More than 40 per cent of Australians live with high cholesterol. It’s a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.
Inclisiran (Leqvio®) will be listed for the first time for the treatment of hereditary (familial) high levels of cholesterol and also non-hereditary (non-familial) high cholesterol with atherosclerotic (narrowing blood vessels) cardiovascular disease.
Inclisiran lowers levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol by silencing or turning off the gene for a protein called PCSK9.
In 2023, more than 10,000 people accessed a comparable treatment through the PBS. Without subsidy, patients could pay over $4,000 per year of treatment with inclisiran.
Empagliflozin (Jardiance®) will be expanded to include treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is now implicated in one-in-six hospitalisations and in 2021, contributed to around 20,000 deaths.
Taken as a once daily tablet, Jardiance works in multiple ways on the body’s cardiovascular and metabolic systems, including to reduce the amount of salt reabsorbed by the kidneys.
An average of 14,000 patients each year may benefit from this listing. Without subsidy, patients might pay more than $700 per year for this life changing medication.
Niraparib (Zejula®), will be expanded for maintenance therapy in women with a type of newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer that is homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) positive. Niraparib works by targeting specific proteins in the body and stopping them from repairing ovarian cancer cells.
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of death from cancer among women in Australia. Tragically, only half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive five years after diagnosis.
Symptoms can often be confused with other health conditions so many women are diagnosed with advanced disease when the cancer has spread, and can be difficult to treat.
The expanded listing of niraparib follows the Government’s recent expanded listing of olaparib (Lynparza®) from January 2024 for the same condition and provides an additional treatment option for around 200 women each year.
Without subsidy, niraparib would cost patients around $130,000 per course of treatment.
From 1 April, eligible patients will pay a maximum of $31.60 per script or $7.70 with a concession card for these medicines.
Since July 2022, the Australian Government has approved extra funding for 179 new and amended listings on the PBS.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“Thousands of Australians living with high cholesterol, kidney disease and ovarian cancer will now have more treatment choices thanks to the Albanese Government.
“These medicines are subsidised and listed on the PBS so people have better access to the treatments that will help them live better for longer.
“The Government will continue to accept the recommendations of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee as well as make medicines cheaper.”


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