New PBS listings give relief for severe asthma

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017

The government has announced $130 million in federal funding to subsidise two asthma medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The anti-interleukin-5 (anti-IL-5) therapy mepolizumab (Nucala® Glaxo SmithKline) is now available on the PBS under section 100 as an add-on treatment for people aged 12 and over with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma. It is given as a subcutaenous injection every four weeks by a healthcare professional.

“The subsidy [for Nucala] will benefit 370 people, who would otherwise pay $21,000 a year for the treatment,” the then Federal health Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement late last year.

Tiotropium Bromide (Spiriva Respimat, Boehringer Ingelheim) has also been listed on the PBS for people with severe uncontrolled asthma.

“Without the subsidy, patients would pay more than $700 per year for the medicine,” said Ms Ley.

“Around 26,000 patients will benefit in the first year of this listing, increasing to around 67,000 per year over the forward estimates,” she added.

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