Delivering affordable access to vital new ms treatment

More than 5,000 Australians every year who suffer from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis will benefit from affordable access to a major new life-changing medicine.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the good news is part of the Turnbull Government’s rock solid commitment to guaranteeing Medicare – which includes ensuring Australian patients have access to medicines when they need it.

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include visual disturbance, fatigue, pain, reduced mobility and coordination, cognitive impairment and mood changes,” Mrs Marino said.

“Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common form of MS and is characterised by partial or total recovery between flares.

“Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus®) decreases the number of flare-ups and slows the worsening of RRMS. This results in a significant improvement in quality of life for sufferers.

“Without subsidised access, patients would pay around $35,100 per year for this medicine. Now, it will be available for a maximum of $39.50 per script, or for just $6.40 for concessional patients.”

The independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended listing ocrelizumab as an additional treatment option for patients with RRMS, noting that it is a first-in-class medicine among treatments for MS currently listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Since coming into Government, the Liberal-led Government has helped to improve the lives of Australians by providing affordable access to around $8.1 billion worth of medicines.

“Australia’s PBS is one of the foundations of our universal health care system and is the envy of many countries. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system,” Mrs Marino said.