Thousands of Australians will have access to new treatments under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme


Thousands of Australians living with schizophrenia, liver disease, lymphoma and anaphylaxis will have access to new treatments via listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme this week.

Reagila, an antipsychotic drug approved in more than 52 countries, will be available for adults with schizophrenia starting Wednesday.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said more than 39,500 Australians who would otherwise have paid more than $ 1,200 a year for treatment are expected to benefit from the PBS grant.

He says another first, Ocaliva, will also be listed on Wednesday for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis, a chronic disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts in the liver.

Women are 10 times more likely to develop PBC than men and although there is currently no cure, treatment can help slow the progression.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said nearly 40,000 people would benefit from the grant on Reagila. Credit: PAA

Without the PBS grant, around 890 Australians per year could pay more than $ 60,000 per treatment.

Anapen, an alternative brand of epinephrine auto-injector, will also be listed for anaphylaxis, the most serious form of allergic reaction

In addition, patients will also have access to a new dosage of this drug in the form of an auto-injector. Over 126,000 people would otherwise pay around $ 80 for this treatment without the PBS grant.

Australians living with untreated CD30 positive peripheral T cell lymphoma will also benefit from the extension of Adcetri on PBS.

Mr Hunt said schizophrenia, a serious psychiatric disorder with a wide range of symptoms, affects about one in 100 people.

Its treatment does not involve a ‘one size fits all’ approach and patients need affordable access to a range of solutions, according to Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Center at the University of Sydney.

“Schizophrenia is a complex and often persistent mental illness,” said Dr. Hickie.

“It not only affects brain function and behavior, but is also associated with serious impacts on physical health. “

Reagila works by indirectly targeting two neurotransmitters, or chemical pathways, in the brain: dopamine and serotonin.

Richard, who is a mental health advocate and policy advisor living with schizophrenia in Sydney, says mental illness should be accepted as physical illness.

“Everyone needs love and hope, and that also applies to people with mental illness,” said the 40-year-old.

“Quick and affordable access to a range of treatment options plays an important role in the effective management of schizophrenia, while giving hope to the patient community. “

The chief executive of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, Tony Stevenson, also praised the subsidized drug.

“The availability and accessibility of affordable treatment options for adults living with schizophrenia is crucial for this patient community, given the stigma they experience with the disease and the resulting social isolation,” said Mr Stevenson said.

“Unfortunately, stigma can contribute to the impact of psychosis in schizophrenia, delays in accessing treatment, social isolation, stress and, in addition, puts those affected at a higher risk of disease. worse.”

Mr Hunt said the federal government has approved more than 2,700 new or amended listings on PBS since 2013.

“This is an average of about 30 lists or changes per month, or one per day, for an overall government investment of $ 13.6 billion,” he said.

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