Arthritis drug to be discounted on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

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Arthritis drug to be discounted on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Cost for a number of prescription drugs drop

A number of medications for serious conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, cancer, arthritis will be cheaper from today after they were included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced 11 drugs will be included on the PBS, making them cheaper for members of the public. However, this price drop coincides with health insurance premiums are rising by close to four per cent.

HUNDREDS of South Australians suffering from severe inflammatory spinal arthritis, often called the hidden form of arthritis, could soon save $15,000 a year on treatment.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said patients with active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis would benefit when a drug used to treat the condition, Simponi (Golimumab), became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme on December 1.

“The condition results in back pain, fatigue and stiffness which could lead to abnormal stiffening and immobility of the joints,” Mr Hunt said. “Damage is progressive and irreversible and there is increased risk of spinal fracture later in life. Over time, permanent damage to spinal mobility and function occurs.”

He said Simponi helped reduce inflammation, swelling and joint destruction for some patients, by blocking inflammation through changes to the patient’s immune system.

Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis typically affects young adults. The symptoms are similar to those from a sporting injury which may not be detectable through X-rays, meaning the condition can remain undiagnosed for many years.

Mr Hunt said the listing would save families thousands of dollars and help patients manage their condition and improve their quality of life.

From December, patients who have been paying more than $1300 per script will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, or only $6.40 if they have a concession card.

This content was originally published here.