Page MP Janelle Saffin.
Page MP Janelle Saffin. Marc Stapelberg

New PBS listing to save patients’ lives and dollars

NEW treatments for the debilitating hepatitis C illness will become available at low cost through the Commonwealth's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from next month, Page MP Janelle Saffin has said.

Ms Saffin said the Northern Rivers had NSW's highest rate of the illness, which could develop into life-threatening conditions such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Without government aid, the new treatments would normally cost afflicted patients up to $78,000 per year, she said.

"The Australian Government has announced that the drugs boceprevir and teleprevir will be subsidised, through the PBS for people at least 18 years old with a certain type of chronic hepatitis C," Ms Saffin said in a statement.

"According to the Health minister Tanya Plibersek, these medicines could double the cure rate and shorten the treatment duration by six months.

"Unlike other types of hepatitis, there is currently no vaccine and medication is the only way to manage the disease."

Ms Saffin said the new drugs would be available through the scheme from April 1.



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