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Aussie kids given immediate access to life-changing cystic fibrosis drug

From today, children aged two to five will
have immediate and free access to Kalydeco® (ivacaftor) – a life-changing drug that
addresses the causes of cystic fibrosis rather than just the symptoms.

Member for McPherson, the Hon. Karen Andrews, welcomed
the news and said previously only children six years of age and
older with the G551D or other class III gating mutations had subsidised access
to Kalydeco.

“Expanding access to this vital drug is
fantastic news for affected Gold Coast families. We know that many parents have
been worried about how their young son or daughter could get access to this
life-changing drug. Now they have it.” Mrs Andrews said.

“Without government subsidy, the treatment
would cost each patient around $300,000 per year.”

Cystic fibrosis is the most common life
threatening recessive genetic condition affecting young people in Australia. It
affects organs such as the lungs and pancreas causing irreversible damage and
can cause death. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said by using Kalydeco
treatment, many children can experience an improved quality of life with
reductions in respiratory and gastrointestinal complications, improved lung
function and fewer hospitalisations.

“The Turnbull Government is making sure that this
life-changing drug is no longer out of reach for Australian families that need
it,” Minister Hunt said.

The announcement follows a recommendation from
the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) that subsidised access to
Kalydeco should be extended to children aged two to five years old.

Kalydeco is due to be formally added to the Pharmaceutical
Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 May 2017.

Until then, the manufacturer (Vertex
Pharmaceuticals) has agreed to provide the drug free of charge for children
aged two to five.
 
From 1 May 2017, the drug will cost $6.30 for all
concessional patients and $38.80 for general patients.

The Turnbull Government has a rock solid
commitment to Medicare and part of this commitment is ensuring people have
access to medicine when they need it.

Information about medicines subsidised by the Government through the PBS is available at www.pbs.gov.au.
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