Free treat­ment for dis­ease

Shepparton News - Country News - - COUNTRY LIFE -

Aus­tralians with a rare dis­ease that can re­sult in life-threat­en­ing com­pli­ca­tions will have free ac­cess to a new medicine, sav­ing them hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars a year.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment from Thursday will fully sub­sidise the treat­ment for Fabry dis­ease through its Life Sav­ing Drugs Pro­gram.

The pro­gram pro­vides spe­cialised medicines to peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing rare and life-threat­en­ing dis­eases.

Peo­ple with Fabry dis­ease have an en­zyme de­fi­ciency that makes it harder for their bod­ies to break down a spe­cific fatty sub­stance.

The ge­netic con­di­tion usu­ally be­comes ev­i­dent in child­hood, through episodes of se­vere pain and other symp­toms such as rashes, headaches, fa­tigue, ver­tigo, fever, vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhoea.

Kid­ney fail­ure, heart at­tack and stoke are among its com­pli­ca­tions.

The Life Sav­ing Drugs Pro­gram helps about 100 peo­ple with Fabry dis­ease re­ceive en­zyme re­place­ment ther­apy. The newly listed medicine Galaford is an oral al­ter­na­tive, help­ing peo­ple to re­duce symp­toms of the dis­ease in their own home.

Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt said the med­i­ca­tion would be too much of a fi­nan­cial bur­den with­out be­ing fully sub­sidised.

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