Cheaper medicine hits the shelves

CYSTIC fibrosis sufferers will be among 45,000 people to benefit from cheaper medicines following the Federal Government's approval of 11 new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The new listings were announced yesterday by health minister Tanya Plibersek, who said they would provide patients with access to new, affordable treatments for a range of ailments.

Among the listed medicines is Mannitol, sold as Bronchitol, an innovative treatment developed by an Australian pharmaceutical company in an easy-to-use, portable inhaler.

Ms Plibersek said the new medicine reduced the amount of mucus build-up in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis.

She said it could be used by all patients over the age of six who could not use, or were not responsive to, medicines already listed on the PBS.

"In addition to Mannitol, other Australians will also benefit in the coming months from the Australian Government's decision to provide subsidised access to a further 10 medicines through the PBS," she said.

"This will ensure more patients have greater access to the medicines and treatment they need at subsidised prices."

The new medicines to be added to the PBS include aflibercept (sold as Eylea), which is for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration in patients new to drug treatment.

Ms Plibersek said the decision to list aflibercept (Eylea) would reduce the number of visits to the doctor that some macular degeneration patients needed to make to receive the injections, from every month to every two months.

Listings are subject to final arrangements being met by the suppliers of the medicines.



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