The Morrison Government will subsidise a new medicine for arthritis from 1 May 2019 saving patients and their family’s up to $16,000 a year.

By keeping our economy strong the Morrison Government is listing all new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) following the advice of the medical experts.

The PBS listing of the medicine Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) is being extended to include treatment of patients with psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints that is often accompanied by psoriasis.

This medicine works by blocking the activation of parts of the immune system that cause inflammation in the joints.

More than 4,800 patients are expected to benefit.

Without PBS subsidy, patients would pay more than $16,500 per year for this medicine.

Patients will be able to access these medicines for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card from May 1.

This listing on the PBS will change and improve lives.

This medicine was recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent medical expert at Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from the PBAC

Since 2013, the Morrison Government has listed over 2000 new or amended items on the PBS.

This represents an average of around 31 listings per month – or one each day – at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.

We are listing all medicines on the PBS unlike the former Labor Government.

In 2011 when the current leader of the opposition Bill Shorten was Assistant Treasurer, Labor took the unprecedented step of stopping the listing of new medicines on the PBS.

Labor’s 2011-12 Budget stated “given the current fiscal environment the listing of some medicines would be deferred until fiscal circumstances permit”.

This included medicines for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, endometriosis chronic pain and IVF amongst others.

Our commitment to ensuring that Australians can access affordable medicines, when they need them, remains rock solid.

Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that saves lives.