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Wednesday, 29 August 2001
Page: 30608

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Health and Aged Care, upon notice, on 4 June 2001:

(1) Is the cholesterol treatment drug known as LIPOBAY listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

(2) Will the Government de-list the drug from the PBS; if so, (a) when will de-listing occur, (b) why is it being taken off and (c) what process is in place to have the drug re-listed.

(3) What other drugs of an equivalent kind of treatment are currently listed on the PBS in substitution of LIPOBAY that provide the same relief for the same symptoms that LIPOBAY is designed to treat.

(4) Who is the (a) registered trademark holder and (b) patent holder of LIPOBAY.

(5) What quantity of LIPOBAY was prescribed in Australia in 1999-2000.

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

(1) Yes, LIPOBAY is listed on the PBS.

(2) No, there is no proposal to delist from the PBS.

(3) LIPOBAY contains the active ingredient cerivastatin which belongs to a class of drugs known as the HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (more commonly referred to as the 'statins'). Another brand of cerivastatin, KAZAK, is PBS listed. Other “statins” which are PBS listed are: atorvastatin (LIPITOR); fluvastatin (LESCOL, VASTIN); pravastatin (PRAVACHOL); and simvastatin (LIPEX, ZOCOR). These drugs all have similar effects i.e they all reduce cholesterol levels.

(4) (a) LIPOBAY is not a registered trademark in Australia.

(b) Bayer Australia Limited holds the patent for the product in Australia.

(5) It is not possible to provide an accurate figure for the number of prescriptions written by doctors for the product. However, 149,600 prescriptions of LIPOBAY were dispensed by pharmacists under the PBS in 1999-2000.