More than 15,000 Australians with diabetes will be left in the lurch following the Albanese Government’s removal of Fiasp from the PBS. Astoundingly, the Minister for Health, Mark Butler has taken absolutely no responsibility for this harmful decision.
The Government’s last-minute temporary intervention to extend availability is only a Band-Aid response that fails to properly address ongoing access to this life changing insulin.
Diabetes patients have been provided little notice that they will need to urgently renew their script before 1 April so that they will be covered for the 6 month temporary extension period, and there are serious concerns that they may not be able to access a doctor in that time.
The Minister has placed these patients in a period of complete uncertainty about their medication, because we know that the fast-acting nature of Fiasp is life changing for users compared to other available forms of insulin.
Significantly, Minister Butler has attempted to mislead the diabetes community by falsely indicating that the manufacturer of Fiasp, Nova Nordisk, is not willing to come to the table on a solution and that the Minister has no legal power to intervene.
Statements from Nova Nordisk have revealed that the significant price reduction set to be applied to Fiasp from 1 April, which will reduce the price of this innovative drug to below that of their older insulin products, makes it commercially unviable for it to remain on the PBS.
We know that the Minister has the discretion to intervene, but it appears he has chosen not to use this power.
Ministerial discretion provides an essential pathway to ensure critical medicines like Fiasp can remain commercially viable on the PBS and therefore affordable to the Australians who rely on them.
The Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien MP said, “15,000 families are still waiting for the Albanese Labor Government to reverse its cold-hearted decision to rip away funding for the life-changing medication Fiasp.”
“Only after the Coalition swung in to support impacted families did the Labor Minister for Health reluctantly provided a short-term fix.”
“This is simply not good enough.”
“I am disgusted in the way Labor has treated these 15,000 families who were not consulted, warned or engaged in any way before the decision was made to cut this funding.”
“I will continue this campaign for a permanent solution beyond October on behalf of Freya and the 15,000 other Australians who rely on Fiasp,” Mr O’Brien said.