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Tuesday, 31 August 1999
Page: 9551

Mr Andren asked the Minister for Health and Aged Care, upon notice, on 9 August 1999:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the drug Aricept Donepezil and its benefits to those suffering from Alzheimers disease.

(2) Is the drug listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS); if not, why not.

(3) Is further proof required by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to have Aricept Donepezil placed on the PBS; if so, what.

(4) Does the Government have evidence of widespread use and benefits of the drug around the world.

(5) Is the Government considering further reassessment of Aricept Donepezil under the PBS.

Dr Wooldridge (Health and Aged Care) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) No.

The PBAC rejected the application to list donepezil on the PBS because it was not convinced that the claims the sponsor company made, based on the results of the clinical trials about the benefits of the drug, including claims about its cost effectiveness, could be achieved.

(3) Yes.

The PBAC would have to see the results of longer term clinical trials designed to assess the impact on patients' quality of life; the carers' quality of life; the progress of patients to institutionalisation (ie the time it took for patients to go into an institution); and on the use of other health care services.

(4) No.

(5) The PBAC would re-assess donepezil for PBS listing if the manufacturer submitted a further application addressing the issues raised in (3) above. The Government would then be in a position to act on any recommendation from the PBAC.