Government praised for PBS listing of hep C drugs

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the government would spend $220 million over five years to subsidise the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee-endorsed boceprevir and telaprevir, potentially doubling the cure rate and halving treatment time for 130,000 patients.

Because the drugs cost taxpayers over $10 million a year, they had to be signed off by Cabinet once it was cleared by the PBAC. Consumer groups had warned people with hepatitis might be disadvantaged because of the cost.

Despite welcoming the listing, Hepatitis Australia CEO Helen Tyrrell called for a faster listing process for future breakthroughs.

“With really innovative new medicines that can cure people with hep C, the speed that that process is enacted [with] is a critical factor,” she said. “We are behind many other countries and as we go forward we need to make sure that other innovative medicines can be made available to Australians in a more timely fashion