Kidney disease drug added to PBS: Hunt

Colin Brinsden

The Morrison government is adding or extending the access of three drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from February 1, helping Australians with chronic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis and tumours of the midgut.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Pharmacor Cinacalcet is being listed on the PBS to help more patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis.

"Chronic kidney disease is common, costly and often detected too late to be reversible, so this listing is vitally important to support patients and their families," Mr Hunt said in a statement on Saturday.

Around 3700 patients are expected to benefit from this listing each year. Without subsidy, patients might pay over $700 per year for the drug.

The government is also extending the access of the cystic fibrosis drug Symdeko which was first listed on December 1 2019.

"Ten to 15 patients might otherwise pay up to $250,000 a year for Symdeko, but with the PBS subsidy they will only pay a maximum of $41 per script, or $6.60 with a concession card," Mr Hunt said.

The drug Sandostatin is also being extended on the PBS to patients with non-functional neuroendocrine tumours.

"Without the PBS subsidy, approximately 460 patients would otherwise pay more than $23,500 per year for treatment," Mr Hunt said.