Subsidy for new drug welcome news for hepatitis C sufferers

A new drug which can treat all forms of hepatitis C is now available at a subsidised rate, after being listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

 Northern based Government Senator welcomed news that the drug Epclusa®, which can treat all forms of hepatitis C with an expected success rate of 90%, will become more affordable thanks to the Turnbull Government’s intervention.

 Senator Macdonald said every year, around 800 Australians die from hepatitis C infection.

 “So this Federal Government initiative is wonderful news for around 200,000 Australians who face the many challenges of living with this dreadful disease,” Senator Macdonald said.

 “The Turnbull Government’s investment in this drug is a positive step towards reversing this unacceptable statistic,” Senator Macdonald said.

 Its listing on the PBS means patients will only pay a maximum of $38.80 per month, with concessional patients paying just $6.30.

 Without the listing, the cost would be in excess of $20,000 per treatment.

 Epclusa® is the first of the new direct acting antivirals that can be used to treat people with any genotype of hepatitis C, meaning it can treat all types of the disease.

 This will make it simpler for doctors to prescribe this breakthrough treatment and will boost uptake rates, particularly for rural and regional patients.

 Senator Macdonald said Australia was one of the first countries in the world to subsidise new medicines for people over the age of 18 with chronic hepatitis C.

 A range of these new medicines became available through the PBS from 1 March, 2016, and since that time, more than 42,000 people have received a PBS-subsidised medicine to treat chronic hepatitis C.

 The Australian Government has allocated more than $1billion to fund these new medicines through the PBS over the next five years, in line with the Government’s Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy.

 “That’s why it is so important to manage the economy carefully and try to reduce the debt the previous Government left us.  It is only by having the funds available that these types of initiatives can be funded,” Senator Macdonald said.

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