Australians living with glaucoma, diabetes and advanced soft tissue sarcoma will now benefit from the addition of medications used to treat these conditions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
These important medicines will now be eligible for PBS subsidies to help make them more affordable for the individuals who need them, Minister for Health Peter Dutton explained in a February 27 media release.
In particular, diabetics who require joint access to linagliptin with metformin and saxagliptin with metformin will benefit from the combination medications Trajenta Duo and Kombiglyze being added to the PBS list.
"Patients already had access to the individual medicines through the PBS, but many people need to use two medicines together to treat their diabetes," Mr Dutton said.
"With the combination dose now listed on the PBS, these patients will save up to $36.90 every time they get a script filled because they will only have to buy one fixed dose medicine instead of two."
Children and adolescents currently undergoing growth hormone treatment are also expected to benefit from the new additions to the PBS list. The PBS Growth Hormone Programme currently treats around 1,900 patients in Australia.
Mr Dutton revealed this program is being extended to cover patients with hypothalamic-pituitary disease who have biochemical growth hormone deficiency. Patients will now have access to higher doses of growth hormone, when appropriate.
"Access to higher doses of growth hormone will especially help older children who have limited opportunity for further treatment before their skeleton has matured," Mr Dutton said.
These changes are expected to take affect this week after publication in the Guidelines for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Growth Hormone Programme. All arrangements are also subject to agreements met by the official suppliers of each medication.
The PBS allows Australians to access most medicines purchased at pharmacies at a subsidised price, regardless of their private health insurance status. However, you must present your Medicare card to receive this benefit.
For all other medications, you may be liable to pay the full amounts charged at the pharmacy. Fortunately, you can arrange health insurance to help cover the cost of medications not listed on the pharmaceutical scheme.
Most private health funds will require you to make a co-payment towards the price of the medication and benefits may be subject to limits applied by the insurer.
These co-payments and limits will vary depending on provider, so it's worth shopping around and comparing health insurance policies to ensure your cover is the best on the market.
For more information on the PBS program or to make a private health insurance comparison, contact HICA today.