New medicines added to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

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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


Total Comments: 10
  1. 0

    I am glad for those people who will benefit from the inclusion of those meds.
    More and more common ones are coming off the free list though.
    You don’t get the full cost towards the safety net either.
    We are told some are unavailable and you can get these instead. They are not the same and some are not tolerated. Who is to blame? The government is, of course, and our doctor says this did not happen in England where she recently came from.
    So, each month now, we work our way through our list of meds to see what we can do. Some have disappeared altogether, some are replaced with a different brand, some are okay, others are not.

  2. 0

    Good news, but there is a lot of backroom cuts we don’t hear about. I have been prescribed Losec for thirty years for chronic gastritis and my last script authority was denied with no reason provided. My GP argued the case to no avail. So now I take one Nexium and one Losec, with both having the same active ingredient Omaprazole, but each having a different delivery mechanism. By experience, Losec is most effective, notwithstanding that I need frequent endoscopies and colonoscopies, have suffered surgery for bowel cancer, none of this is considered by the bureaucrats. If I have a relapse of cancer I will go after this Government with a law suit that will make their eyes water. When a doctor’s advice and ability to prescribe for patients is manipulated by bureaucracy because of ideology, people will die. Ignorant bastards!

    • 0

      I have never heard of any time limit for being on a prescription medicine, so I can’t say what your issue was. However, Losec is an old medication, and currently Pariet is considered a better (and similar) medication. Wonder if your GP considered that?

    • 0

      Yes, my GP has said this too. There is a lot of mucking around going on. Government is cutting costs and people are unaware.

  3. 0

    Again a “high five” to the LNP for this one – more in a very long line of additions to the PBS by Minister Hunt and his colleagues – Well Done.

    • 0

      You are a bit too enthusiastic about this government not to be a part of the LNP in some way. Read comments, people are struggling to get their meds.

  4. 0

    Good news for people that use the aforementioned drugs.
    For ‘Paddington’ ; in England medicine is free to all over 60 years old.

  5. 0

    Good news for people that use the aforementioned drugs.
    For ‘Paddington’ ; in England medicine is free to all over 60 years old.

  6. 0

    I have been taking Pariet for about 12 years and my GP always gave me a script for 5 repeats. This has now changed and last time my GP gave me a script for 5 repeats and I took it to the Chemist the Chemist told me they could not give me the tablets because GP’s are not allowed to issue 5 repeats for this medication now. I wonder if anyone else has encountered this problem? Also, I had difficulty when I went to get a repeat of Celebrex (for rheumatic inflamation) and I still had 5 tablets left and the Chemist declined to give me a new lot of tablets because I still had 5 tablets left and the Chemist said he was not allowed to issue me with another lot of tablets “early” – meaning that I hadn’t finished my last lot of tablets. Has anyone encountered such problem?

    • 0

      From what I have observed and been told they are trying to get us off some meds and onto cheaper ones. There is a lot of mucking around with the meds.



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