Arthritis Australia welcomes cheaper arthritis medicines

More medicines now eligible for 60 day dispensing from March 1 2024

[Sydney, Australia] Arthritis Australia has welcomed access to cheaper medicines commonly used to treat arthritis, with the rollout of a new tranche of medicines eligible for 60 day dispensing from March 1 2024.

Doctors will be able to write a 12-month script for medicines commonly used for arthritis conditions, including prednisolone, Leflunomide and Ciclosporin, allowing a two-month supply to be dispensed when patients visit their pharmacy.

Arthritis Australia CEO Jonathan Smithers said “Many people living with arthritis who are struggling with the costs of their healthcare have been waiting for this day. About three quarters of people with arthritis have at least one other chronic condition, so many will also benefit from cheaper scripts for other conditions including mental health and diabetes.

“People with arthritis are often on lower incomes or unable to work due to their condition, and are financially stressed with the cost of living pressures and the combined cost of all their treatments and appointments,” he adds.

“We are really pleased the Government has prioritised the needs of consumers in rolling out these measures, which follow the recent reduction to PBS copayments.”

Annique Daran, 44, from Sydney, who lives with ankylosing spondylitis, has been taking prednisolone tablets for 7 years. “As a working mum with a toddler, managing a chronic condition can be tough and expensive. Saving money on medicines will make a difference for my family, and it will also really help being able to make less trips to the doctor or pharmacy for routine scripts.”

Currently, almost 4 million Australians of all ages are living with arthritis. Arthritis Australia and its affiliates are witnessing an increase in those facing financial distress, withdrawing from programs and delaying or not receiving the care they need. People are making difficult decisions not to fill their prescriptions or pursue specialist referrals due to cost.

About Arthritis Australia

Arthritis Australia is the peak national body for arthritis, advocating on behalf of over 4 million Australians living with arthritis, and working with many other arthritis organisations to deliver information and support to people living with more than 100 types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. We are a leading non-government funder of arthritis research in Australia and advocate for policies, programs and funding initiatives that will improve the health and wellbeing of people living with arthritis.

Issued by Cube on behalf of Arthritis Australia. For more information, please contact: Anne-Marie Sparrow on 0417 421 560.

Available for interview: Jonathan Smithers, CEO, Arthritis Australia