From February 1, 2017 people with severe uncontrolled asthma will get subsidised access to the medicine Spiriva Respimat, which otherwise would cost people more than $700 a year.
The government is also adding another medicine, Nucala, to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for patients with persistent airway inflammation to access from January 1.
“For many Australians, asthma remains an extremely serious medical condition. The recent spate of asthma attacks triggered by thunderstorms confirms just how prevalent and deadly asthma can be,” said Wes Cook, managing director of Boehringer Ingelheim.
“Today’s announcement by Health Minister Sussan Ley is a reflection of the Government’s commitment to act in the face of unmet medical need,” he said. “The PBS listing of Spiriva Respimat means Australians with severe asthma will have affordable access to an additional inhaled medicine specifically researched for the treatment of severe asthma.”
More than 2.3 million Australians have asthma and as many as 45 percent experience uncontrolled asthma symptoms. Approximately 20 percent of Australians with asthma remain symptomatic despite good adherence to their existing therapy.
“Boehringer Ingelheim has a long heritage in the treatment of airways disease and the company remains committed to educating prescribers and pharmacists to ensure Spiriva Respimat is used appropriately and plays its part in the management of asthma,” Cook said further.