Push for high-cost pain drug

Pregabalin (Lyrica, Pfizer) was recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in March for neuropathic pain not controlled by other drugs and will be the first drug to carry this indication if approved by Cabinet.

It is estimated to cost more than $100 million annually within five years.

Dr Michael Vagg, a consultant in rehabilitation and pain medicine at Barwon Health in Victoria, said last week he was concerned a “much needed drug will be delayed by the temptation to use the announcement of funding for political purposes instead of getting it onto the PBS as soon as possible”.

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