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Four new medicines will be subsidised by the Federal Government to help patients living with debilitating and life threatening conditions. Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said treatments for diabetes, severe cystic acne, depression and lung cancer will be available to patients for $40.30 per script or $6.50 with a concession card, following their addition to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The new PBS listings effective from July 1, 2019, include:
•  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 which will make it easier to prescribe. Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay up to $200 for each course of treatment.
• Oratane® (isotretinoin), will be listed to 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 PBS subsidy the medicine would cost patients around $800 a year.

Other new PBS listings from June 1, 2019, include:
• Fiasp® (insulin aspart), a fast acting mealtime insulin that improves blood sugar control in adult patients with diabetes Without 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.

Mr Chester said each of the medicines had been recommended by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to be added to the PBS.

The Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC. Mr Chester said a strong economy allowed the Federal Government to provide Australians with affordable medicines, when they need them.

“Since 2013, the Federal Government has listed more than 2,000 new or amended items on the PBS which is around 31 new listings per month – or one a day,” Mr Chester said.

“The Federal Government’s plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for medications and essential health services that saves lives.

“In the 2019-20 financial year we will invest a record $104 billion in health, up from $75 billion seven years ago.

“The Federal Government’s national health plan guarantees Medicare and improves access to medicines, supports hospitals, prioritises mental health and preventive health and invests in health and medical research.”

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