1400 new drugs added to PBS list

Australians with Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer and schizophrenia will save hundreds of dollars a year after the Government added 1400 subsidised medications to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme took effect yesterday.

According to psychiatrist Professor Malcolm Hopwood, schizophrenia patients and their families will hopefully enjoy a higher quality of lifewith the approval of the antipsychotic tablet Rexulti.

“It’s a valuable addition because new treatments are always welcome,” said Prof Hopwood.

“There isn’t one single drug or treatment which is the perfect option for everyone, so a new drug provides more options which is always important.”

Prof Hopwood said schizophrenia is one of the top 10 disabilities in Australia, with patients suffering from the condition experiencing significant physical and mental setbacks.

“It can be heartbreaking for the family,” said Prof Hopwood.

Rexulti is normally $1700, but after being added to the PBS, it will cost just $38.

The drug is one of 1400 new to the list. Patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, women being treated for endometriosis, and patients suffering from stomach problems or high blood pressure are also set to benefit from the latest list.

Statins used to treat heart disease have been discounted by 700 per cent, now that the patent has expired and generics have been added to the list.

Although many Australians will benefit, pensioners and concession cardholders may not see any major change because they already pay no more than the $6.30 patient co-payment.

Apart from discounted general medications, the biggest savings will be on highly specialised and expensive drugs such as chemotherapy or for medications to treat leukaemia and AIDS.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new list of subsidised medicines will save taxpayers around $430 million over the next four years.

Labor’s health spokeswoman, Catherine King, said that while cheaper medicines are welcomed, the Government has only listed a fraction of the medicines that could be on the scheme.

For more information on the new subsidised medicines, visit www.pbs.gov.au

Will you benefit from any of the new subsidised medicines?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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