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Hepatitis C drug listing long overdue



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CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

HEPATITIS C DRUG LISTING LONG OVERDUE

Labor welcomes today’s long overdue decision to finally list potentially life saving hepatitis C drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The listing of these drugs will be life changing, and potentially life saving for the tens of thousands of Australians with hepatitis C.

The latest Kirby Institute surveillance report shows the number of Australians living with hepatitis C-related severe liver disease has more than doubled over the past decade with an estimated 45,000 people now living with hepatitis-C in 2014.

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation in Australia and accounted for an estimated 690 deaths in 2014.

However, patients should not be forced to wait another three months to gain access to these drugs, which were recommended for listing by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee at its March 2015 meeting.

Labor made substantial reforms to the PBS that has put the Commonwealth in a much better position to list these drugs quickly.

Today’s announcements mean people with hepatitis C will be denied access to these drugs for 12 months, which has seen some patients resort to forming “Dallas Buyers Clubs” to gain access to the drugs.

Labor believes this process has now dragged on for too long and the government should deliver on its promise to quickly make available drugs recommended for inclusion on the PBS.

SUNDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573