Asthma sufferers will get some relief in the government's mid-year budget update with almost $130 million in drug subsidies.
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.
‘Asthma is one of nine national health priority areas for the Government. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and attacks that often lead to hospitalisation.’
Federal Health Minister Susan Ley said despite the availability of several medicines for asthma on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), many patients still experienced uncontrolled symptoms.
Ms Ley said asthma was one of the most common, chronic, long-term diseases and the announcement would be "enormously beneficial" to those who suffer severe strains. "Spiriva Respimat helps open airways to improve a patient's breathing and reduce the likelihood of asthma flare-ups or exacerbations," she said.
The subsidy for that drug will save patients around $700 a year, benefitting approximately 26,000 people in 2017 and increasing to around 67,000 patients per year.With this year's bushfire season underway asthmatics are reminded to have regular check-ups with their GPs, know how to properly use inhalers, take preventative medications regularly and prepare a written action plan detailing in case symptoms get worse.
Asthma is one of nine national health priority areas for the Government. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and attacks that often lead to hospitalisation.