CO-PAYMENT COST BURDEN REMOVED FOR CANCER & CHRONIC PATIENTS

NORTHERN Tablelands patients with cancer and other chronic conditions will receive a huge financial boost from the start of next month, with the State Government announcing the scrapping of co-payments on some medicines, local MP Adam Marshall said today.

Mr Marshall said he welcomed an announcement from Health Minister Jillian Skinner yesterday that the government would cover the co-payments for public hospital patients receiving Section 100 (s100) Highly Specialised Drugs and Section 100 injectable and infusible chemotherapy medicines.

According to Mr Marshall, the change takes effect on 1 October and will save patients with cancer or other chronic diseases an average of $1,400 per year.

“This is wonderful news for many people across the region and throughout country NSW who are living with complex illnesses,” Mr Marshall said.

“They suffer enough without the stress and strain of having to find hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for essential but expensive medication.”

Mr Marshall has been publicly vocal in his calls for the government to abolish the co-payment, from the start of this year.

“We all know that living with these complex and chronic illnesses and conditions is far more expensive in rural issues because of the vast distances and extra travel involved in treatment and the co-payment was just another cost burden for those already struggling,” he said.

“I’m absolutely thrilled the co-payment will be no more and will no longer be a burden on anyone.”

“This change is incredibly positive and will benefit many people living in the region with cancer and HIV, patients with organ and tissue transplants, schizophrenia, hepatitis, Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis.”

Other conditions treated by s100 Highly Specialised Drug medicines include psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis and severe allergic asthma and rare diseases, particularly those affecting children, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Mr Marshall said the co-payment would be paid for eligible patients regardless of whether prescriptions were filled at NSW public hospital pharmacies, NSW community pharmacies or through pharmacies used by NSW public hospital oncology clinics.

The changes apply to public non-admitted patients, outpatients or day patients, inpatients on discharge from public hospitals and privately referred non-admitted patients of NSW public hospitals.

Highly Specialised Drugs and injectable and infusible chemotherapy are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and administered under Section 100 of the National Health Act 1953. For more information on the changes, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/pharmaceutical

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