Four new medicines added to PBS

Three new medicines were added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on Monday, joining one that was added a month ago.

Under the PBS, treatment for diabetes, severe cystic acne, depression and lung cancer will be available to patients for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card.

The new PBS listings cover:

  • Pemetrexed, a medicine for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma, will also have its authority level reduced to make it easier for doctors to prescribe. In 2018, over 950 patients accessed this medicine and could benefit from this change to the listing that will make it easier to prescribe. Without the PBS subsidy, patients would pay up to $200 for each course of treatment.

  • Oratane (isotretinoin) will be listed on the PBS to help treat the 21,000 people per year with severe cystic acne, providing doctors with an alternative for patients who require a lower therapeutic dose. Without PBS subsidy, this medicine would cost patients $43 for each course of treatment.

  • Phenelzine will be made available through the PBS for the treatment of patients with depression, when all other anti-depressant therapy has failed. In 2018, over 900 patients accessed alternative brands and are expected to benefit from this listing. Without a PBS subsidy the medicine would cost patients around $800 a year.

  • Fiasp (insulin aspart) is a fast-acting mealtime insulin that improves blood sugar control in adult patients with diabetes. Without the PBS subsidy, patients would pay either $124.24 or $206.59 per script, depending on the form prescribed. In 2018, 126,000 patients accessed another form of insulin as part on the PBS and could benefit from this listing.


Every medicine was recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC. 

Do you use any of these medicines that were recently added to the PBS? How much will you now save?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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