Chemotherapy to become cheaper for some with PBS changes

APN NewsdeskCANCER patients in public and private hospitals will be able to get chemotherapy treatment cheaper, with $82 million expected to help 150,000 people undergoing infusions.

The funding will mean some patients will be able to save about $150 off each infusion from January next year, under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the funding on the weekend, in response to a review of such medicines initiated by the previous government.

A statement from Mr Abbott's office said the changes would also remove some regulations for clinicians prescribing, processing and claiming for PBS medicines.

It said doctors will now be able to use a patient's medication chart to dispense PBS medicines.

But Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the review which prompted the change had not been released.

She said Mr Abbott had "made no mention of his intention to release the review's findings", and it begged the question.

"The Prime Minister needs to explain how he is funding today's announcement. Will there be more cuts to the health portfolio?" she said.

The chemotherapy funding comes as the government also revealed three other medicines on the PBS, would drop in price for consumers.

Health Minister Peter Dutton said the most frequently prescribed medicine on the scheme - high cholesterol medicine Atorvastatin - would drop by about $12 a script.

The price of two other drugs will also fall - Olanzapine, for schizophrenia and Venlafaxine, for depression - would each drop in price from $6 to $10 a script.


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