The Government has approved the listing of four “new generation” treatments on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which will see their cost fall from around $100,000 to just $6.10 for concessional patients and $37.70 for general patients.
Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the drugs would treat all strains of the disease and will be made available to the 230,000 Australians living with Hepatitis C from March next year.
“The medicines we are listing today are safe, easy to use but most importantly effective,” she said.
“It’s an 8 to 12-week course and the cure rate is well over 90 per cent.”
Health groups have been lobbying the Government to subsidise the drugs for months because the existing treatments for Hepatitis C have debilitating side-effects and a much lower cure rate.
“These are breakthrough medicines that we hope will all but eradicate this deadly and debilitating disease within a generation,” Ms Ley said.
“And we are amongst the first jurisdictions in the world, if not the first, to make these treatments available to every single person.”
While hundreds of thousands of Australians have the virus, about 700 die from complications associated with Hepatitis C each year.
The infectious, blood-borne virus attacks the liver, causing its inflammation, and may lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and in some cases death.
The Minister said the $1 billion investment over five years was accounted for in last week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) but for commercial reasons, she was unable to make the announcement at the time.
The new-generation drugs being listed are Sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni), Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), Daclatasvir (Daklinza), and Ribavirin (Ibavyr).
Published By: ABC News, 20/12/15