August 9, 2018

PBS changes for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) medicines

Please be advised that changes have been made to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) restrictions of COPD medicines which came into effect 1 August 2018.

In summary, these changes are:

  1. ICS/LABA – Restriction level being elevated from Restricted Benefit to Authority Required (Streamlined),
  2. LAMA/LABA – Addition of clinical criteria to the current restrictions, allowing their use in patients who have not been previously stabilised on a combination of LAMA and LABA medicines, but who have failed to have their symptoms controlled by either and;
  3. For all COPD (and asthma ICS/LABA) medicines – Administrate advice or ‘Notes’ as they appear on the PBS website, will be updated as per recommendations made by the PBAC in August 2017.

More information about the changes can be accessed via the PBS website, here.

Why were these changes made?
In August 2017 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considered the Post-market Review of COPD Medicines, and in March 2018 the Evaluation Report of the 2014 Post-market Review of PBS Medicines Used to Treat Asthma in children. As a result of these reviews, the PBAC made a number of recommendations, including changes to the authority level of PBS-listed COPD and asthma ICS/LABA medicine combinations, changes to clinical criteria and administrative advice.

More information regarding these Post Market Reviews can be found on the PBS website, here.

What do prescribers need to know in relation to the restriction changes on COPD medicines?
After 1 August 2018, prescribers will need to produce a prescription on an Authority Required prescription form (electronic or hard copy) as well as include the relevant streamlined authority code to ensure it is valid for PBS dispensing at the pharmacy. All details and codes are available on the PBS website, for each ICS/LABA medicine. All other PBS-listed COPD medicines will only have their administrative notes updated as a result of the Post-Market Review of COPD medicines.