House debates

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Statements by Members

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

1:55 pm

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

This month is migraine awareness month. Some 400,000 Australians suffer from chronic migraine, and many have at least 15 migraine and headache days a month. That means 400,000 Australians spend more than half a month with a debilitating headache, with pain lasting for up to 72 hours with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, and many other symptoms.

Last week I met with Lyn and her son, Nick, from Orchard Hills. Lyn has suffered the agony of chronic migraine for 24 years. Unable to hold down a full-time job, she has poured every ounce of energy she has into being a good mum for her two children. But there is hope. In the last year, Lyn's life has changed and changed for the better. A new type of migraine medicine has allowed Lyn to return to work and resume a more normal life. The good news is that the independent experts at the PBAC have recommended two of those drugs be listed on the PBS: Emgality and AJOVY. The good news is that these drugs are available. But, unfortunately, they have not yet been listed on the PBS. One of them was recommended 11 months ago.

This government is yet to list either of those drugs on the PBS. The minister talks a big game on PBS listings, but the reality does not meet the hype. He simply continues to ignore the recommendation of the panel. Lyn can afford $300 a month for this life-changing drug, but many people can't. We will continue to advocate for these migraine drugs to be listed until the minister gets around to listing them on the PBS, as he must.