The independent, expert group advising the Australian Government on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medications has reviewed its recommendation to put tighter controls around an important asthma medication for children.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) had previously recommended 50mcg Axotide Junior and Flixotide Junior (fluticasone propionate) be:
- restricted to children aged 6 years and under
- be initially prescribed by a respiratory specialist
- only prescribed with authority approval by Medicare
These changes were made to the PBS on 1 April.
Following representations from health professionals and advocacy groups the Minister wrote to PBAC respectfully asking them to review their decision.
At this month’s meeting, the PBAC acknowledged the concerns related to the restrictions, particularly for families living in rural and remote areas, as well as from clinicians, and has now recommended children.
The PBAC has recommended removing the limitations requiring specialist prescribing, and again allowing patients to receive a prescription from their GP.
Department of Health and Aged Care officials will now work with the supplier, GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd, to finalise the revised listing details, and the Government will make further announcements when agreement is reached.
Since 1 July 2022, the Government has approved additional funding for 85 new and amended items on the PBS.
The recommendation regarding Axotide Junior and Flixotide Junior comes as the 2023-24 Budget commits $2.2 billion to the PBS, and the Government effectively halves the cost of more than 300 PBS listed medicines by doubling the amount patients can buy at a time.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“I wrote to the PBAC in May – after health professionals and advocacy groups raised concerns with my office – and asked them to take another look at these issues.
“I am pleased that the PBAC has now reconsidered its advice about Fluxotide Jr and Axotide Jr and now patients will now be able to get their prescription from their GP.
“The original recommendation led to unintended consequences for GPs and families and young children who have limited access to alternative asthma treatment.”