A life-changing but astronomically expensive treatment for haemophilia will now be freely available to eligible Australians with the blood clotting disorder.
The breakthrough treatment Hemlibra is usually out of reach for most haemophilia A sufferers, costing more than $675,000 a year.
But about 800 Australian will now have free access to the drug through the National Blood Authority, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.
Haemophiliacs lack a crucial clotting agent in their blood, which can lead to life-threatening and severely disabling internal bleeding and joint damage.
At present, these patients need frequent intravenous infusions of the clotting factor.
Hemlibra is easier to administer than the current methods, is only required by patients once a week, and is more effective than present treatments in reducing bleeding incidents when patients have problems with antibodies.
Regular supply of the drug is expected to be available by December.