16 March 2011 People living with Schizophrenia have been denied world-class medication because the Gillard Governmenthas refused to list a breakthrough monthly injection on the PBS.
The Coalition’s Peter Dutton, Andrew Southcott and Andrew Laming said this was another example of Labor’s waste punishing vulnerable Australians through rationing of services.
“It is already listed in the US and was recommended for PBS listing by the government’s independent expert body, but still Australians are denied world-class care,” said Mr Dutton.
The drug, Invega Sustenna, makes it much easier to manage the illness by reducing the frequency of relapse, the need for post treatment observation and it only requires one monthly treatment.
“Indigenous and rural Australians are most affected,” said Dr Laming.
“Old treatments are needed every two weeks with patients needing observation for three hours after injection. The new treatment removes those hassles for health staff and patients alike.”
The Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW has expressed “deep concern (that) such delays deny access … for many of Australia’s most disadvantaged and stigmatised citizens. This is not just a matter of access; it is a matter of ethics and social justice.”
The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia and its state and territory member organisations have also spoken out against the deferral.
After meeting all stringent Australian guidelines, drug manufacturer Janssen believed that listing on to the PBS was a formality only to find it had been axed in a Labor backroom.
This “deferral” is really a euphemism for rejection because there is no commitment from Cabinet to re-evaluate the drug’s listing. Government has simply said it will “reconsider deferred applications when fiscal circumstances change.”
“Nicola Roxon needs to stand up for schizophrenia sufferers, often the most vulnerable members of the community. Labor’s mismanagement and waste of Australia’s wealth has undeniably put pressure on her to cut costs and in doing so hurt people,” said Dr Southcott.
Invega Sustenna was one of seven drugs deferred on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).