Federal Coalition puts life-changing medicines on PBS saving patients thousands

Lyne MP David Gillespie: Together with Medicare, the PBS is a foundation of our world-class health care system.
Lyne MP David Gillespie: Together with Medicare, the PBS is a foundation of our world-class health care system.

From May 1, the more than 120 Australians with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma will no longer pay over $200,000 per course of treatment, instead paying a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients, including pensioners, paying just $6.40.

Keytruda is an immunotherapy medicine working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them. This provides a new option for patients who cannot undergo, or have no response from, the normal chemotherapy treatment.   

Opdivo, a $1 billion drug to treat both locally advanced and metastatic stages of non-small cell lung cancer, and a type of renal cell cancer will also be listed.

We have also made Yervoy available for the treatment of unresectable Stage II or Stage IV malignant melanoma.

Giotrif will be available for the more than 220 patients to treat advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. This medicine would otherwise cost patients over $33,550 per year.

Briviact, an anti convulsant agent, will provide a new treatment option for patients with epilepsy. This will mean around 1800 patients each year will save over $1000.

Amino Acid Formula supplemented with Neocate Syneo, a medicinal food for infants (up to 24 months) with life altering food intolerances, is expected to benefit more than 2000 infants.

And Colazide, an intestinal anti-inflammatory agent, will be available with a larger maximum on prescription. More than 2000 patients could benefit by filling fewer prescripitons.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended these listings. The committee is by law, and in practice, independent of government. A new medicine cannot be listed without a positive recommendation from PBAC.

The Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising more than $8.2 billion new medicines. Together with Medicare, the PBS is a foundation of our world-class health care system. See PBS listings on the schedule at pbs.gov.au.