PBAC Asthma Medication Changes

CHA has written to the federal Minister for Health, the Hon Mark Butler MP to express concern about the unintended negative impacts of a recent decision by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Council to change prescribing rules related to a common medication used for preventing and managing asthma in children, known as Fluticasone Propionate and marketed as Flixotide® Junior and Axotide® Junior metered dose inhalers.   

Fluticasone Propionate has been a safe, effective and affordable medicine for prevention and treatment of asthma in children for more than 20 years in Australia, prescribed mainly by GPs.   

The recent change in PBS listing of Flixotide® and Axotide® Junior means:  

  • children under the age of 6 will now need to have their medicine prescribed by a paediatric or respiratory specialist 
  • children over the age of 6 will no longer be able to access this medicine under the PBS.   

Our members have concerns about the impact this change will have on the health and wellbeing of children with asthma, particularly those children from disadvantaged or vulnerable families or living in rural or remote communities.   

It is anticipated that this change will result in increased presentations to already overstretched Emergency Departments, as well as contributing to a rise in avoidable hospital admissions of children with asthma.   

On behalf of the children’s healthcare sector, CHA has urged Minister Butler, to request the PBAC to reverse this decision (see letter).   

Our concerns align with those of both Asthma Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

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