The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
1 April 2022
Australians will have cheaper access to treatments for high cholesterol, heart failure and high blood pressure from today, ensuring they can continue to access the medicines they need, when they them.
As part of the Morrison Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Price Disclosure Policy, hundreds of thousands of Australians will now pay less for 21 medicines sold under more than 130 different brand names.
From 1 April, medicines treating common conditions that will be cheaper for general
(non-concessional) patients include:
- nebivolol – for the treatment of moderate to severe heart failure, will be up to $5.14 cheaper per prescription (a saving of up to 12.09%) for about 12,000 patients who are dispensed around 77,000 prescriptions per year
- ezetimibe – for the treatment of high cholesterol, will be up to $1.39 cheaper per prescription (a saving of up to 6.21%) for about 60,000 patients who are dispensed around 420,000 prescriptions per year, and
- moxonidine – for the treatment of high blood pressure, will be up to $1.27 cheaper per prescription (a saving of up to 5.35%) for about 35,000 patients who are dispensed around 302,000 prescriptions per year.
As a result of the Price Disclosure Policy, every six months prices for a range of PBS medicines are reduced, meaning cheaper prices for patients.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said it would save Australians more than $10 million over four years to access treatments under the general patient co‑payment of $42.50.
“These reductions mean a trip to the pharmacist will be cheaper for hundreds of thousands of Australians, and more life-saving drugs can be listed on the PBS in the future,” Minister Hunt said.
The Morrison Government is also listing additional important and lifesaving drugs on the PBS from today, including for Australians with asthma, prostate cancer, Castleman disease, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Crohn’s disease.
This includes the PBS listing of Trelegy Ellipta 200® (fluticasone furoate with umeclidinium and vilanterol), which will be expanded for Australians with severe asthma.
Asthma is a common chronic condition, and can become serious, especially if untreated. More than 400 Australians die from asthma each year. Without PBS subsidy, over 1,000 Australians might pay more than $1,000 per year for treatment.
Lynparza® (olaparib) will be extended on the PBS to include the treatment of metastatic castration‑resistant prostate cancer in patients with specific pathogenic gene variants.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85.
Lynparza® is an oral treatment that has shown improved survival outcomes for patients with the specific gene variants (called BRCA1 or BRCA2) in their prostate cancer. Gene variants in a patient’s cancer are confirmed by laboratory testing.
Without PBS subsidy, around 200 Australians might pay around $78,000 per course of treatment.
Listing for the first time is Sylvant® (siltuximab) for people with idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease.
Castleman disease is a rare disorder involving an overgrowth of cells in the body’s disease‑fighting network—the lymphatic system.
While idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease can occur at any age, patients generally present with symptoms in their 50s and 60s. Without PBS subsidy, around 70 Australians might pay around $135,000 per year of treatment.
Vocabria® (cabotegravir) and Cabenuva® (cabotegravir and rilpivirine injections) will be listed on the PBS for the first time for the management of HIV infection. In 2020, there were 633 new diagnoses of HIV in Australia and more than 29,000 people were living with HIV.
Vocabria® (cabotegravir) and Cabenuva® (cabotegravir and rilpivirine injections) will be listed on the PBS for the first time for the management of HIV infection.
Vocabria® and Cabenuva® work to keep the amount of virus in the body at a low level and help maintain the level of a type of white blood cell called “CD4+” in the blood, which is important in helping the body to fight infection.
The PBS listing of Vocabria® and Cabenuva® will benefit more than 9,000 Australians each year, who without subsidy may pay more than $17,000 per year for treatment.
Entocort® (budesonide) will also be listed for Australians with mild to moderate Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes painful swelling and redness (inflammation) inside the digestive tract. This can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Entocort® helps to reduce this inflammation.
Without PBS subsidy, around 6,400 patients might pay more than $480 per year of treatment.
“These new and amended listings will benefit thousands of Australians and their families, who from today, will only pay a maximum of $42.50 per script, or as little as $6.80 with a concession card,” Minister Hunt said.
“The Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.”
Since 2013, the Coalition Government has approved more than 2,800 new and amended listings on the PBS at an overall investment of $15 billion.
This is a stark contrast to Mr Albanese and Labor, who when last in Government stopped listing essential medicines and treatments on the PBS.
This PBS listing has been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.