Relief as new form of fast-acting insulin added to the PBS

Type 1 diabetes

By Siobhan Calafiore

19 Sep 2023

A new form of the fast-acting insulin Fiasp will be added to the PBS next month following the removal of a previous product that left thousands of patients with type 1 diabetes in limbo.

Earlier this year, Novo Nordisk’s decision to withdraw Fiasp vial and Fiasp FlexTouch products from the PBS on 1 April caused alarm among doctors and patients who faced a price hike of about $200 a month on a private script.

The company told the limbic at the time a “significant price cut” by the Federal Government meant it was no longer commercially viable to continue supply.

The Federal Government stepped in by issuing a ‘supply-only’ order for the products which secured PBS access for a further six months, allowing patients to refill their current or repeat scripts until 30 September.

On Monday, the government announced it had since come to a “long-term” solution with Novo Nordisk with the listing of Fiasp Penfill from 1 October.

Speaking on 2GB Sydney, Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler said the new Fiasp product was clinically “the same as the old product” and its listing would be welcome news, particularly to families with children with type 1 diabetes.

“They’ve been very nervous about the decision the company took earlier this year, and finding a long-term solution will give them peace of mind,” he said.

Mr Butler said the listing had been made possible with the help of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Diabetes Australia, which had led consumer campaigns calling for certainty following the expiry of the ‘supply-only’ orders.

In a statement, Mr Cem Ozenc, Corporate Vice President and General Manager at Novo Nordisk Oceania, said the pharmaceutical company had heard “loud and clear” the impact the withdrawal of its previous insulin had on 15,000 Australians.

“We are pleased that patients can continue accessing this treatment on the PBS. Australians deserve equitable, fast access to new, innovative medicines, like Fiasp that tackle Australia’s biggest health challenges including diabetes, obesity and other serious chronic health conditions,” he said.

Fiasp Penfill will be available under the same conditions as the previous listing.

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