Lifesaving medicine to treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) will become available to patients under the age of 18 following a $241 million commitment by the Federal Government.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said Spinraza would be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from June 1 this year for the treatment of Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3a SMA for all patients under the age of 18.
“This will be both life-saving and life-changing for hundreds of young patients and their families,” Mr Chester said.
“Patients would otherwise pay more than $367,850 a year for the medicine. This listing will now mean they only pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients paying just $6.40. This vital medicine will no longer be out of reach for patients.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said SMA is an inherited genetic muscle wasting disease characterised by a loss of motor neurons.
“The disease is the number one genetic cause of death of babies under two in Australia,” Minister Hunt said.
“Spinraza is the first and only treatment of its kind to be listed on the PBS for SMA. The medicine works by slowing progression of the disease and in many cases the drug can halt the progression of the disease, and for others it can significantly improve motor function.”
Since coming into Government, the Coalition Government has helped improve the health of Australians by subsidising more than $8.3 billion worth of new medicines.