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Medication hike, warns Irwin.

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Medication Hike, Warns Irwin 17h June 2005

Federal Member for Fowler, Julia Irwin, has warned of price rises for some Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines from 1 August.

“A special patient contribution has been announced by Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott on four drugs used in treating epilepsy, depression and mesothelioma cancer.

“The amount will vary from about $2.50 per prescription for the anti-epilepsy drug Topamax to $460 for Alimata, a heavily subsidised drug which treats mesothelioma and which presently costs $28.60 on the PBS,” Mrs Irwin said.

Keppra for the treatment of epilepsy and Lexapro which treats depression are also expected to be affected by the additional patient contribution.

Mrs Irwin said the Howard government had made an election promise to cut the price of existing PBS drugs when a generic alternative was available but had been unsuccessful in securing the agreement of some drug companies.

“The result is that these important drugs might be beyond the reach of patients who should discuss the issue with their treating doctors,” Mrs Irwin said.