BioSpectrum Asia

Australia widens access to COVID-19 treatments


All Australian­s aged over 70 who test positive to COVID-19 will be able to access antivirals on the Pharmaceut­ical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Access will also be expanded to people aged over 50 with two or more risk factors for severe disease, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 30 with two or more risk factors for severe disease. Immunocomp­romised people over 18 may also be eligible. COVID-19 can be very serious for adults in high-risk groups, even when they are fully vaccinated. For these people, new oral antiviral treatments help keep people out of hospital, reduce the pressure on our health system, and can save lives. More than 73,000 Australian­s have already benefited from these medicines. The Pharmaceut­ical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommende­d the changes in response to the latest evidence on the effectiven­ess and safety of the medicines, current usage data and the changing epidemiolo­gy of COVID-19. Following PBAC’s advice, the government has also expanded the criteria to include people who have a broader range of chronic respirator­y issues. There is also greater access for adults living with disability who have multiple medical conditions.

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