Thousands of Australians will now have access to a crucial medicine, thanks to the federal government’s efforts. Starting from October 1, 2023, over 15,000 diabetic Australians will be able to obtain a new form of fast-acting insulin called Fiasp Penfill through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Fiasp Penfill, sponsored by the drug company Novo Nordisk, contains the same amount of fast-acting insulin aspart as the original Fiasp medication, which will be removed from the PBS. This new medication is effective in quickly reducing blood sugar levels and minimizing spikes after meals.
The inclusion of insulin aspart on the PBS is the result of 6 months of negotiations by the Albanese Government. This listing ensures that diabetic Australians and their families will only have to pay $30 per prescription compared to $220 if it were to be removed. Moreover, concession card holders will only need to pay $7 per prescription.
According to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, between 2020 and 2021, over 16.5 million prescriptions for diabetes medicines were dispensed through the PBS. The type 1 diabetes research and advocacy group Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia (JDRF) stated that around 15,000 people who rely on insulin to manage diabetes would have been greatly affected if it were not available.
JDRF CEO Mike Wilson praised the efforts of the government and Minister Mark Butler for listening to patient organizations and ensuring affordable access to fast-acting insulin for Australians with type 1 diabetes. This announcement is particularly significant for families like Kellie’s, whose 16-year-old daughter Jenna has relied on Fiasp for four years. Jenna described Fiasp as a lifesaver that allows her to safely manage her diabetes.
Diabetes Australia, along with other diabetes-related organizations, advocated for the inclusion of Fiasp on the PBS. They emphasized the importance of providing affordable access to insulin and medicines to improve the quality of life for Australians living with diabetes.
Novo Nordisk Oceania expressed their gratitude for the government’s decision, acknowledging the voices of the 15,000 Australians who depend on Fiasp. They look forward to a continued positive working relationship with the Department of Health and Aged Care.
However, the Liberal Party criticized the Labor Government for acting too slowly in addressing this issue. The opposition argued that Minister Mark Butler’s delayed response created uncertainty for the diabetes community. They called for an explanation as to why permanent inclusion on the PBS was not pursued.
In conclusion, the federal government’s efforts have ensured that thousands of diabetic Australians will have access to the crucial insulin medication Fiasp Penfill through the PBS, providing them with relief and better management of their condition.