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Veterans’ drug scheme improved

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Ben H umphreys m in is t e r for veterans' affairs


The quality of drug treatment provided to veterans will improve following changes to the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) introduced on 1 April.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Ben Humphreys, said that, the Government had accepted recommendations for changes to the RPBS, reviewed recently by a select committee of drug specialists.

"The Government has accepted the committee’s recommendations that a separate scheme should remain for veterans but some changes would be introduced to ensure the quality of drug treatment.

"Among the changes are tighter controls on the use of potent drugs and the delisting of a small number of drugs which have been superseded, or the use of which has become inappropriate.

"One drug withdrawn was the analgesic Paradex, a combination of two drugs which are eliminated from the body at different rates. This can lead to a build up of one of the drugs with chronic useage. The two drugs should be taken separately and are available on the RPBS schedule as single formulations.

"Suitable alternatives to drugs taken off the RPBS list will be provided to veterans free of charge.

"Also the "Authority to Prescribe" and "Specified Purpose" rules of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), administered by the Department of Community Services and Health, will be incorporated in the RPBS from 1 April.

"This will mean that specific drugs will be used for the purpose for which they are intended.

"No veteran will be denied drugs that, are required to preserve his or her good health. The "Prior Approval" rule has been retained. This means that restricted PBS drugs will always be provided to veterans when medically justified.

"The RPBS is intended to provide medicines to veterans who require treatment for disabilities suffered as a result of war," Mr Humphreys said.

CANBERRA 6 April 1988 -88/79

For further information: Mary Vernon (062) 89 6562

Australia 1788-1988