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05 Sep 2019

Two new medicines have been listed through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at an investment of more than $40 million, to help Australians with opiate addiction and those suffering breathlessness throughout their final stages of life.

Under the PBS, new treatments for opiate dependency and chronic breathlessness will now be available to patients in need. They were listed from September 1 and are: 

  • Buvidal® (Buprenorphine) to help treat patients living with opiate dependency. Buvidal provides a more flexible option for people to manage their addiction replacing daily treatment at a pharmacy or dosing point with weekly or monthly injection, removing cost burden for daily dispensing, reducing travel requirements, especially in regional Australia.
  • Kaponal® (Morphine) will be extended on the PBS to include a new indication on the Palliative Care Schedule. Kapanol® helps with the relief of distressing chronic breathlessness in the palliative care of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiac failure, malignancy or other causes.

“Every medicine was recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC),” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“By law, the Morrison Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC. Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all medicines recommended by the independent medical experts.”

But Shadow Health Minister Chris Bowen said the Government was slow to list the new medicines, because both medications were recommended by PBAC in March this year.

“That means that Minister Hunt has taken six months to deliver assistance to the 50,000 patients treated for opioid dependence daily, and 20,000 people per year who struggle breathing in palliative care,” Mr Bowen said.

Published: 05 Sep 2019