New Listings and Changes to PBS – 1 November 2009
Several additions and changes to drugs listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme come into effect from 1 November.
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1 November 2009
Several additions and changes to drugs listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) come into effect from 1 November.
Over the next four years more than a thousand people suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, will benefit from a Rudd Government decision to list lenalidomide (Revlimid®) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from today. It will also be added to the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
Multiple myeloma is the second most common type of cancer of bone marrow. It damages a patient’s bones, resulting in pain, fractures and high blood calcium levels. Multiple myeloma can be controlled with treatment but long term cure is currently unlikely.
The listing of lenalidomide will cost an estimated $104 million between 2009-10 and 2012-13.
Ezetimibe with simvastatin tablet (Vytorin®) is being listed to allow patients who currently require ezetimibe 10 mg and a statin of 20 mg or less to have a combination product instead of two separate prescriptions. This will not change the patient’s underlying treatment but the number of copayments will be halved, reducing the cost to the patient.
A new strength of Tobramycin sulfate injection (without preservative) (Tobra-Day®) for the treatment of pseudomonal infections in cystic fibrosis patients will be also be listed on the PBS from 1 November. Cystic fibrosis is a serious inherited disorder mainly affecting cells in the lungs and pancreas. People with cystic fibrosis have a greater risk of chronic lung infections and intermittently receive courses of antibiotics by injection or inhalation to manage these infections. Some people with cystic fibrosis need high doses of tobramycin by injection to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is present in their lungs. This additional high strength injection will make getting treatment at home easier as it replaces the need for multiple smaller strength vials of tobramycin.
Valsartan with hydrochlorothiazide tablet (Co-Diovan 320/12.5®) is listed on a cost-minimisation basis compared with the corresponding strengths of the hydrochlorothiazide and valsartan given together, and will be priced in line with the accepted practice for combination products. This listing is for the treatment of hypertension in patients who are not adequately controlled with either hydrochlorothiazide or valsartan used alone.
Alterations — Restrictions
Lenalidomide capsule (Revlimid®) As previously announced, lenalidomide will be listed on the PBS from today for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
Bortezomib powder for injection (solvent required) (Velcade®). Changes to the current bortezomib restriction for the treatment of multiple myeloma will clarify the diagnostic tests required, define progression of myeloma and allow access to patients who have failed to respond to thalidomide but show no sign of progression.
Ciprofloxacin Ear drops (Ciloxan®). The listing for ciprofloxacin ear drops will now include paediatric patients with chronic otitis media with a perforation of the tympanic membrane or a grommet in place. Chronic otitis media is a result of continuing accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. It is painful and results in hearing loss and repeated infections of the ear, and more common in children than adults.
In another change, the listing for Thyrotropin alfa powder for injection (Thyrogen®) for the treatment of thyroid cancer will become an ‘authority required (streamlined)’ item, meaning prescribers will no longer have to telephone for preapproval to prescribe . Patients with thyroid cancer have a chronic, stable and long term condition and the dosage with thyrotropin is also stable with patients generally requiring one or two treatments per lifetime.
Dornase alfa solution for inhalation (Pulmozyme®) will now be available for cystic fibrosis patients aged less than 5 years of age. Dornase alfa is a genetically engineered enzyme used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis and helps break down bronchial mucus secretions in the airways, which helps the patient clear their lungs.
For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220.
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