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New PBS listings for April 2008

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Cancer patients, children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), people suffering from schizophrenia, stroke patients and the Indigenous community will benefit from changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April 2008.

The listing of fentanyl lozenges (Actiq) on the Palliative Care Schedule will assist those palliative care cancer patients who cannot tolerate further increases in their morphine dose due to side effects. Around 8,000 patients are expected to use this treatment in the next five years, at a cost of around $5.5 million to the PBS.

Children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old with ADHD will have access to another slow-release version of the drug methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin LA) via the PBS. This single daily dose form of Ritalin will result in greater convenience not only for ADHD patients, but also for their families. The new listing is important because it means children with ADHD will not need to take medication throughout the day, which can be difficult for some patients who find it burdensome or embarrassing to take the medication at school. This listing is expected to be cost neutral as it will serve existing patient populations.

The new listing for schizophrenia sufferers, paliperidone (Invega), will offer an alternative to currently listed antipsychotic drugs for those in both the acute and maintenance phases of the disease. The PBS addition will be largely cost neutral as it will serve existing patient populations.

In addition, the Australian Government is set to provide an oral treatment for dermatophyte infections (a type of fungal skin infection) to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through the PBS, with the listing of terbinafine hydrochloride tablets (GenRx Terbinafine, Tamsil, Terbihexal, Zabel, Lamisil). This listing is being made through the Primary Health Care Access Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which aims to improve the capacity of the PBS to meet their needs. It will be available only where topical treatment has failed. This listing is expected to benefit about 13,000 patients over the next five years, at a cost of around $1.2 million to the PBS.

The restriction for Dysport(clostridium botulinum) has been extended to include the treatment of severe upper limb spasticity in adults following stroke. Dysport is injected into the affected joints to improve joint mobility in conjunction with physiotherapy. The extension to this listing is expected to benefit about 10,000 patients at a cost of around $21 million over the next five years.

Information about medicines subsidised by the Government through the PBS is available at www.pbs.gov.au

(Source: Department of Health and Ageing: April 2008)

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Dates

Posted On: 2 April, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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