Eczema Support Australia calls for budget action on biologics

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Eczema Support Australia has used its 2020-21 Budget submission to call on the federal government to set aside sufficient funding to accommodate the PBS reimbursement of biologic therapy for the treatment of severe atopic eczema.

According to the association, the federal government currently invests over $150 million each year on biologic therapies for the treatment of dermatological conditions like chronic plaque psoriasis and chronic spontaneous urticaria.

However, there is no biologic therapy reimbursed on the PBS for severe atopic eczema.

"This is despite the Therapeutic Goods Administration approving a biologic medication, Dupixent (dupilumab) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe eczema in January 2018. This therapy has twice been rejected by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and is now only available on private prescription at a cost of approximately $19,200 per annum," it said.

The PBAC rejected Sanofi's DUPIXENT in July 2019 but acknowledged its effectiveness for an area of high clinical need. The rejection was based largely on price.

The committee will consider DUPIXENT for a third time at its March meeting.

"The eczema community is hopeful of a favourable outcome, noting that the cost of the therapy is subsidised by governments in more than 20 countries overseas including France, Germany and the United Kingdom," said Eczema Support Australia.

It said it "respects the independence of the PBAC and eagerly awaits the outcome of any future review of Dupixent, as well as other medicines for the treatment of atopic eczema."

It also requests "that the 2020-21 Federal Budget include a provision that will allow Dupixent to be immediately added to the PBS (subject to positive PBAC recommendation), thus allowing the Federal Treasurer to announce a PBS listing on Budget night".