PBS listings for Parkinson’s and ALS treatments

By Michael Woodhead

19 Mar 2019

Safinamide (Xadago) will be listed on the PBS from 1 April for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Over 11,000 people with Parkinson are expected to benefit from the listing of the drug that would otherwise cost $1,400 per year for treatment without PBS subsidy.

The listing follows a recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) at its November 2018 meeting to list safinamide as a Restricted Benefit listing as add-on therapy to levodopa, on the basis of cost-minimisation compared to rasagiline.

A new liquid formulation of riluzole (Teglutik) for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) will also be listed on the PBS from 1 April.

The PBAC said there was a clinical need for an alternative form of riluzole that was likely to have advantages for patients with difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or who use a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), as tablets are often difficult to administer in these patients.

More than 1,300 patients are expected to benefit. Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay more than $2,900 per year for treatment.

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