Almost 13,000 Australians could save thousands annually with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of Beovu (brolucizumab) for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) from this month, the Federal Government says.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the Novartis-distributed therapy would be available via the government subsidised medicines program from 1 October after it was recommended for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee at its March 2021 meeting.
It will be available for patients who have not responded to first-line anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatment.
Without PBS subsidy, the government believed around 12,800 Australians might pay more than $8,800 per year for this new treatment option.
Beovu was one of two ophthalmic therapies listed on the PBS this month, with the Seqirus product Ikervis (ciclosporin) also made available for the treatment of severe keratitis in adults with dry eye disease.
Without the PBS subsidy for Ikervis, around 7,500 patients might pay more than $900 per year of treatment, the government stated.
Hunt said these medicines would improve thousands of lives.
“Since 2013, the Coalition Government had approved more than 2,700 new or amended listings on the PBS. This represents an average of around 30 listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the government of $13.8 billion,” he said.
“Without PBS subsidies many Australians would be thousands of dollars out of pocket, instead they’ll only pay $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card for these medicines.
“The Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.”