National News


New Year brings new PBS listings

The first day of the new year brought with it new hope for Australians fighting one of the most common blood cancers, thanks to a critical new medicine listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). On January 1, Darzalex® (daratumumab) was listed for the first time in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone, as a second-line treatment for patients with multiple myeloma – a cancer of the plasma cells. Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan welcomed the first new listings of 2021. “This treatment will bring improved clinical outcomes and quality of life for those affected by this disease,” Mr Hogan said. “About 18,000 people in Australia are living with this serious condition at any one time. The treatment might otherwise cost up to $160,000 a year. Patients could now pay as little as $41.30 per script, or $6.60 with a concession card” Australians living with severe chronic psoriasis will also benefit from the 1st January 2021 listing of Otezla® (apremilast) Around 5,000 patients with severe chronic psoriasis might pay more than $7,500 a year for treatment without this listing. Around 1.6 million Australians live with some form of psoriasis—a long-term inflammatory skin condition. People who suffer with the most severe and chronic forms of the disease also have an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These listings were recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. Since 2013, the Australian Government has approved more than 2,450 new or amended listings on the PBS. This represents an average of around 30 listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $11.8 billion.