On August 14, 2016, Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP announced up to 20,000 Australians living with Type 2 diabetes would find it easier and cheaper to access treatments with the Government’s listing of AUD $70 million in new therapies on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from September 1, 2016.

A new, once-a-week diabetes injection known as Exanatide (Bydureon) will be subsidised from September 1, allowing diabetes patients to reduce their injections from twice-a-day, to once-a-week, saving each individual patient up to AUD $1,600 per year.

Other Type 2 diabetes treatments set for September 1 PBS listing include Linagliptin (Trajenta) and linagliptin with metformin (Trajentamet), vildagliptin (Galvus), and vildagliptin with metformin (Galvumet), for use in triple oral therapy, either on their own, or in combination.

Ms Ley said the new product listings would benefit many Australians living with diabetes, citing “As one of our most prominent, chronic diseases, Type 2 diabetes is placing a significant cost on the nation’s health and finances at nearly AUD $1 billion per year.

“According to Diabetes Australia, there were about 4,000 amputations last year that could have been avoided with better daily management of a patient’s condition. Our hospitals also saw over 900,000 diabetes-related admissions,” said Ms Ley.

“It [the new product listings] will particularly benefit Indigenous Australians, who are five-times more likely to die from diabetes-related causes than non-Indigenous people.”

According to Ms Ley, as of September 1, 2016, the Coalition would have invested AUD $4.5 billion in listing new treatments on the PBS since winning Government in 2013.

Cervical cancer treatment, bevacizumab (Avastin) for the treatment of persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer where surgery or radiation is not viable, will also be listed on the PBS from September 1, 2016, helping to save the lives of more than 200 women who are failing to respond to conventional treatments for their cervical cancer and therapy. The previously unsubsidised treatment, which was AUD $55,000 per course, will be reduced to just $6.20 per script for concessional patients, or $38.30 for general patients from September 1.

Another pending change not addressed in Ms Ley’s announcement of August 14, 2016 pertains to approved suppliers who will be required to provide additional information when claiming eligible, Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy (EFC) items through the PBS. From September 1, 2016, chemotherapy compounders will need to apply to the Chemotherapy Compounding Payment Scheme (CCPS) Administration Agency to obtain a compounder ID for each compounding site, and provide this information to approved suppliers for each eligible PBS EFC item provided.

To learn more about the September PBS listings, head to www.pbs.gov.au.