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More drug price cuts in Australia

UK News | May 03, 2012


Lynne Taylor

More drug price cuts in Australia

13 medicines on Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), accounting for more than 200 brands, have taken new price cuts of between 11% and 77%, as part of the ongoing price disclosure scheme agreed between the government and industry group Medicines Australia. 

The biggest price reduction is for GlaxoSmithKline's anti-nausea treatment Zofran (ondansetron), which is reduced by 77%, while Sanofi's cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin) will take a 51% price cut.

These new savings are in addition to the A$1.9 billion in PBS savings agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the government and Medicines Australia in 2010, and come on top of the 74 medicines whose prices were reduced on April 1 last, in what was the single largest round of price reductions in the history of the PBS.

These latest price cuts are further evidence that the reforms to the PBS agreed between the industry and the government are working as intended, according to Medicines Australia.

"Yet again we're seeing price disclosure putting downward pressure on the price of medicines and containing PBS expenditure," said the group's chief executive, Brendan Shaw.

"We have historically low spending on the PBS at the moment. We've just had the most substantial round of price cuts in PBS history," said Dr Shaw. This new round of price reductions will be followed by others as more medicines go off-patient and become subject to price disclosure, he added.

The other medicines whose prices have newly been reduced are: Sanofi's antipsychotic Solian (amisulpride) - 18.27%; Merck KGaA's cardiac disease treatment Concor (bisoprolol) - 18.75%; Eli Lilly's antibiotic Keflin (cefalotin) - 16.99%; Johnson & Johnson's anticancer drug Doxil/Caelyx (doxorubicin) - 32.97%; Lundbeck's selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Cipralex (escitalopram) - 36.76%; UCB's epilepsy treatment Keppra (levetiracetam) - 14.15%; Boehringer Ingelheim's non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Mobic (meloxicam) - 23.62%); Serono's anti-cancer drug Novantrone (mitoxantrone) - 18.25%; J&J's anticholinergic Ditropan (oxybutynin) - 11.25%; Server's angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor Coversyl (perindopril) - 11.59%; and prochlorperazine for nausea and vertigo - 25.55%.

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