$310m new vital drugs available for Australian patients

02 May, 2017

The Australian Government is continuing to subsidise more life-changing and life-saving drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as part of our rock solid commitment to ensuring that Australians have access to vital medicines when they need them.

New medicines worth $310 million have been added to the PBS as of 1 May 2017.

Ivacaftor (Kalydeco®) is now available for children aged two to five years with cystic fibrosis. It’s a life-changing drug that addresses the causes of cystic fibrosis rather than just the symptoms.

Without government subsidy, the treatment would cost each patient around $300,000 per year.

Kalydeco has been listed on the PBS since 1 December 2014, but until now has been restricted to patients aged six years and over affected by the cystic fibrosis G551D gene mutation.

For many families this vital drug has simply been out of reach. 

Like all the new medicines listed on the PBS from 1 May 2017, Kalydeco is now available for $6.30 per script for all concessional patients and $38.80 for general patients.

And for the first time, a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has be listed on the PBS. 

IPF is characterised by the progressive deterioration of lung function and has debilitating effects on quality of life. This listing will save approximately 1,470 patients each year around $39,700 per course of treatment.

Blinatumomab (marketed as Blincyto®) is a new treatment for a rare cancer – relapsed or refractory Philadelphia chromosome negative B-precursor acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL). It’s now on the PBS – saving patients around $127,700 per course of treatment. 

There is a high clinical need for an effective treatment for these patients. Blincyto provides a means to induce and maintain cancer remission to allow treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplant. It works by targeting and encouraging the destruction of lymphoma cells.

We’re also subsiding daclizumab (Zinbryta®) for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis sufferers.

Since coming into Government, we have added around $6 billion of new drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Unlike Labor, we are adding drugs recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee without fear or favour. Labor delayed the listing of seven vital drugs.

Australia’s PBS is one of the foundations of our universal health care system and is the envy of many countries.

The Turnbull Government has a rock solid commitment to Medicare and part of this commitment is ensuring people have access to medicine when they need it. We are delivering on this commitment.

PBS listings are published on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits which is available through the PBS website.