Australia Health Minister Expands PBS Medicine Listing

October 3, 2020 Updated: October 3, 2020

Australians with liver cancer, myopia and Parkinson’s disease will have new treatment options under amended Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listings brought in under Tuesday’s budget.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Oct. 4 announced new funding for medicines including over $230 (US$164) million to expand the listings for drugs to treat advanced unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer.

Epoch Times Photo
Pharmacist John Riordan is seen working in the Forest Lake Pharmacy on the southside of Brisbane, Australia on May 14, 2015. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

From Nov. 1, more than 500 patients per year could benefit from PBS listing of this treatment, which would otherwise cost more than $170,000 per course, Hunt said in a statement.

Tecentriq and Avastin (atezolizumab and bevacizumab) will be on the PBS for use in combination to treat patients with the condition.

Hunt also announced that as from Oct. 1, new PBS listings would also help Australians with pathologic myopia to treat unwanted growth of new blood cells in the eye that cause extremely acute near-sightedness.

The listing of Eylea (aflibercept) would benefit around 500 patients who would otherwise pay more than $5,000 per year for treatment.

For the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Apomine Solution for Infusion and Apomine Intermittent (apomorphine) will also be extended on the PBS to include access to maintenance treatment through community pharmacies and hospitals.

Without the PBS subsidy, patients could pay more than $7,500 per script for the medication, Hunt said.

From Oct. 1 treatments for high cholesterol and almost 20 other widely used medicines will be cheaper.