Thousands of people living with a life-threatening disorder will have access to a ground-breaking drug at a fraction of the price after it was placed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
More than 2,000 people living with cystic fibrosis will be able to access Trikafta on the PBS from April 1, which previously could have cost more than $ 250,000 a year, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.
The drug will now be $ 42.50 per script or $ 6.80 for Concession card holders, Mr Hunt said.
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“I am so proud that one of the final treatments listed on the PBS under my watch as Minister for Health is Trikafta,” he said.
“This listing will make access to treatment within reach for thousands of Australians with CF each year.”
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes persistent infections of the lung, and there is currently no cure.
The average life expectancy for people with CF is 47 years, much lower than the average life expectancy for most Australians, which is 85 years for men, and 88 years for women.
One in every 2,500 children born in Australia will have cystic fibrosis, and some 3,500 people live with the disease today.
The drug will be available to Australians aged 12 and over who have at least one F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, the government said.
“Today is a great day for the CF community,” Sabrina Barbic, senior country manager at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, said.
“The listing of Trikafta on the PBS is an Incredible milestone, and we thank the Australian Government for recognizing the significant need for this medicine and the value it brings to Australians living with CF.”
The company said it had dedicated more than 20 years to Researching CF, saying their “life’s work has been trying to find a Cure”.
“While Trikafta acts on the most common Genetic mutation, which affects 90 per cent of CF patients, we will not stop working until all patients with CF have access to transformative medicines, regardless of Genetic mutation or age.”