Oral MS Medication
Canberra – The Health Ministry slashes down price of Gilenya, a multiple sclerosis oral treatment, effective Thursday. This was taken from The West newspaper in Australia.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon made the announcement amid speculations from MS lobby groups that its inclusion to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) could be deferred by the Federal Government, whose policy is to cut budget on new drugs. After the price reduction, Gilenya tablet will now cost $34 a script for a month-long course under PBS. The MS drug costs about $30,000 a year, and was more expensive than the other treatments for multiple sclerosis.
The move to reduce Gilenya’s price is hailed by multiple sclerosis patients who have had to bear the agony of constant injections as often as daily in the hospitals.
“A tablet is a hell of a lot easier than having a needle every second night,”
Fremantle architect Asher Galvin, 32, who was diagnosed with remitting relapsing multiple sclerosis three years ago said. Galvin has taken the drug for two months in a trial paid for by the drug’s maker, Novartis.
“Overall, my energy levels have increased and I don’t feel as drowsy in the morning,” Galvin added.
Gilenya has produced the first oral multiple sclerosis medication on PBS in which after several trials demonstrated that the pill, when taken on daily basis, will and can gradually reduce the progress of the multiple sclerosis disease and able to cut its relapse rates.
Earlier, British authorities, deterred by Gilenya’s high price, decided against making it available in the market because they did not believe it was a cost-effective medicine.
Meanwhile, Erbitux, the drug used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, will soon be added to the PBS after late-stage bowel cancer patient groups lobbied for it. The unsubsidized cost of the drug is about $30,000 a year.