News in brief: New and effective option for plaque psoriasis; Prescription costs eased with PBS Safety Net changes; Dermatology students share their medical education online

5 Apr 2022

New and effective option for plaque psoriasis

Bimekizumab (Bimzelx) has been TGA approved for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.

The selective inhibitor of interleukin-17F and IL-17A has already received marketing authorisation in the EU, the UK, Japan and Canada.

TGA approval was supported by the positive results in the BE READY, BE VIVID, BE SURE and BE RADIANT trials where it demonstrated superior levels of skin clearance compared to placebo, ustekinumab, adalimumab and secukinumab respectively.

Associate Professor Peter Foley from St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and a clinical trial investigator said he looked forward to the opportunity to prescribe bimekizumab in the real world. 

“With bimekizumab we have a highly effective therapy with high rates of complete skin clearance, and this equates to dramatic improvement in quality of life for patients with this chronic debilitating disease.”

Prescription costs eased with PBS Safety Net changes

Patients with chronic diseases will have the financial burden for medication costs eased by an announcement of the lowering of PBS safety net thresholds in the 2022 Budget.

From July 1 the threshold for access for general patients will be lowered by the equivalent of two scripts, from $1,542.10 to $1,457.10, a saving of up to $85. This means that after the equivalent of about 34 full-priced general co-payments, general patients pay only the concessional co-payment of $6.80 per PBS script for the balance of the year.

For concession card holders, the threshold will be reduced by the equivalent of 12 scripts from $326.40 to $244.80, a saving of up to $81.60. When concession card holders reach the safety net threshold, after 36 full-priced concessional scripts, they will receive PBS medicines at no charge for the balance of the year.

The measure is costing $525.3 million over four years from 2022–23.

Dermatology students share their medical education online

The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted many face-to-face medical education events but it drove student dermatology societies to connect more online and increase engagement.

Medical students from the University of Sydney said they co-hosted the Sydney Medical Students’ Skin Conference online and used social media live streaming to bring people together.

“Over the past year, we have joined forces with societies in New South Wales and interstate to share the task of hosting topic talks in diverse areas such as skin cancer, hidradenitis suppurativa, the skin microbiome, skin of colour, skin biopsy techniques, cutaneous infectious diseases and dermatologic emergencies,” they said.

The students said a national-level society – run by students and backed by the ACD – might provide a larger platform for “networking, greater opportunity for advocacy, especially for minority groups such as Indigenous or LGBTQI+ students, and outreach to the broader community.”

Read more in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology

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