All Australians aged over 70 who test positive to COVID will be able to access antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Access will also be expanded to people aged over 50 with two or more risk factors for severe disease, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 30 with two or more risk factors for severe disease. Immunocompromised people over 18 may also be eligible, an official media release from Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care, said today.
COVID-19 can be very serious for adults in high-risk groups, even when they are fully vaccinated, the release said.
For these people, new oral antiviral treatments help keep people out of hospital, reducing the pressure on our health system, and can save lives.
More than 73,000 Australians have already benefited from these medicines.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the changes in response to the latest evidence on the effectiveness and safety of the medicines, current usage data and the changing epidemiology of COVID-19.
Following PBAC’s advice, the Albanese Government has also expanded the criteria to include people who have a broader range of chronic respiratory issues.
There is also greater access for adults living with disability who have multiple medical conditions.
Antiviral treatments, taken as a tablet or capsule, help to stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe – but they need to be started early after testing positive.
If you are an older person, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, or live with chronic disease or disability that puts you are higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, please talk to your doctor now about your COVID-19 treatment options. Your doctor can help determine your exact eligibility, the release added.
““Two antivirals are on the PBS meaning these remarkable treatments that normally cost more than $1000 will only be $6.80 for a concession card holder, and around $40 for everyone else,” Butler said.
“People can get antivirals after speaking to a doctor, but they need to act fast. Speak to your GP and make a plan for what you will do if you get COVID, so you can start taking antivirals as soon as possible after your positive result.”
Find out more about COVID-19 treatments.
The Indian Sun acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
All Australians aged >70 who test positive to #COVID will be able to access #antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Access will also be expanded to people aged >50 with two or more risk factors for severe disease. #TheIndianSunhttps://t.co/GFU3oBT2Be
— The Indian Sun (@The_Indian_Sun) July 11, 2022