Asbestos drug listed on PBS

The drug that the late anti-asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton fought to have added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), will be cheaper for sufferers of mesothelioma from today.

Alimta has been added to the PBS and will cost around $31 for each prescription. The drug Champix, which helps people to stop smoking, has also been listed.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the addition of Alimta in particular marks a proud day for the new Government.

"This is a campaign that people like Bernie Banton really fought for all of their lives," she said.
"If people do believe in an afterlife, I hope that he is looking down to see that the campaign has been successful and other sufferers will not have to go through the battles that he went through."

The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia says the listing of Alimta on the PBS may help prolong the life of some victims.

Foundation president Barry Robson says it is an important day for victims and their families.
"It's a burden that's been lifted off victims and their families to try and find money to access this treatment," he said.

"In some ways, early intervention might prolong the life of some of these victims of mesothelioma."

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