The importance of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has been underlined with new and amended medicines listings.
From 1 July the medicine Ozempic® (semaglutide) will be listed on the PBS as a new treatment option for type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic® is a new weekly blood sugar lowering treatment for patients with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes.
In Australia, type 2 diabetes accounts for over half of all diabetes deaths. An estimated one million Australian adults (5%) had type 2 diabetes in 2017-18.
Lack of exercise, weight gain and a poor diet increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Treating this condition is critically important to prevent long-term complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
In 2019, over 40,000 patients accessed a comparable treatment for this chronic condition. Without the subsidy, patients would pay more than $1,700 per course of Ozempic®.
From 1 July, the listing of Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) will be expanded and improved to include a new form and treatment regimen to assist patients with small cell lung cancer.
This change will provide patients with a more convenient treatment option. Patients will be able to access a four weekly dosing regimen when receiving continuing treatment with this medicine. This means they do not need to go to their doctor as often for their treatment.
This will particularly benefit those in rural or remote areas. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.
An estimated 1,000 patients per year will require treatment with Tecentriq. What might have cost them more than $50,000 per course of treatment is available for $41 per script, or $6.60 with a concession card.
These listings have been recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
Since 2013, the Australian Government has approved more than 2,400 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 $11.6 billion.