Half a million Australians to benefit from subsidized life-saving medications
Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday announced that drugs to treat lung cancer, lymphoblastic and acute leukaemia, and nausea associated with chemotherapy have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
It means that those medicines will now be available for 40.3 Australian dollars (27.2 U.S. dollars) per prescription or 6.5 Australian dollars (4.3 U.S. dollar) for those with a concession card - mostly pensioners.
According to Hunt the new inclusions will save some patients more than 100,000 Australian dollars (67,619 U.S. dollars) per year.
"Avastin, a breakthrough new medicine to treat stage four lung cancer, would've otherwise cost 189,000 Australian dollars (127,795 U.S. dollars). It will now help over 750 patients for as little as 6.50 Australian dollars," he told Seven Network television.
"A new medicine called Apotex for nausea from chemotherapy, which can be such an agonizing additional complication, will be available for more than 7,000 patients."
On top of the new additions, 15 medicines that are already listed, including Ezetimibe for high cholesterol and Pregabalin for nerve pain, will become more affordable from Tuesday.
"Ezetimibe helps over 300,000 Australians, so that will be up to 6 Australian dollars (4.05 U.S. dollars) a script cheaper," Hunt said.
"That might be 60 or 70 Australian dollars (40.5-47.3 U.S. dollars) in savings a year, which makes a massive difference to the cost of living."