Two new heart treatments listed on PBS

Aussies suffering from two specific cardiomyopathy conditions will soon be able to get their treatments cheaper after two new heart drugs were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Any disorder that affects your heart muscles is known as a cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathies severely limit your heart’s ability to pump blood. This can result in shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains, fainting and eventually, heart failure.

The most common types of cardiomyopathies are a dilated or ‘enlarged’ heart and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or thickened heart muscle.

Now, sufferers of two of those muscle-thickening cardiomyopathies – transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) and obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (obstructive HCM) – will be able to access their much-needed medicines cheaper after two new drugs were listed on the PBS.

What is ATTR-CM?

ATTR-CM is a fairly rare condition where an abnormal protein builds up in the heart, causing the muscle to thicken, preventing it from working normally. Left untreated, ATTR-CM is potentially fatal if left untreated and causes typical heart symptoms including shortness of breath and chest pains.

Tafamidis, sold under the brand name Vyndamax, works by preventing this protein buildup, thus slowing disease progression down. Vyndamax is now available on the PBS.

Vyndamax is a capsule taken once daily, and stops the protein buildup by attaching itself to the protein, thereby strengthening it and allowing it to move on through the body. ATTR-CM occurs when this protein breaks down and begins building up in the heart muscle.

What is obstructive HCM?

Obstructive HCM is a genetic condition that causes the heart muscle to thicken naturally, making it harder for the heart to pump blood and transport oxygen around your body.

Symptoms typically include chest pain and shortness of breath but can also include swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in the neck.

Now, sufferers will be able to access mavacamten, sold under the brand name Camzyos, under the PBS after it was added in the latest update. Camzyos works by relaxing the heart muscle and reducing contractions, which in turn reduces the obstruction to blood flow.

Prices locked in

After the Federal Budget announcement last week, it’s now confirmed that Aussies will pay no more than $31.60 for these two medicines, or $7.70 if they’re a concession card holder.

These prices are now locked in for at least two years, with concession card holders getting the discount for a guaranteed five years.

Health minister Mark Butler says the addition of Vyndamax and Camzyos to the PBS shows his government is serious about protecting the health of all Australians.

“Cardiomyopathy covers a number of diseases that affect the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. If left undiagnosed and untreated, these conditions can lead to heart failure,” he says.
“That’s why it’s vitally important that Australians have ready and affordable access to the latest treatments.
“By listing Vyndamax and Camzyos on the PBS, we’re giving patients and their doctors new options for treatment at an affordable price. It’s part of the Albanese Government’s commitment to keep medicines cheaper for Australians.”

Do you suffer from either of these conditions? Are there any drugs you’d like to see listed on the PBS? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Federal Budget 2024: Biggest winners revealed

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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