Asthma Australia welcomes the new GSK Australia once-daily ARNUITY ELLIPTA asthma treatment soon to be added to the shelves of Australian Pharmacies and listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, announced this week. Asthma Australia is the nation’s peak body representing the 2.7 million Australians with asthma and said with more than 15 asthma inhalers now on the market it was important for both prescribers and patients to know how ARNUITY ELLIPTA fits in.

“We’re pleased to see a new asthma preventer treatment reimbursed by the PBS and made available on the Australian market,” said CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman. “The inhaler is suitable as a first-line treatment option for people with asthma aged 12 years and over,” she said. However, Asthma Australia urges prescribers to consider cost of medications with their patients.

Arnuity Ellipta

As ARNUITY ELLIPTA contains 30 doses per prescription, people with asthma would need to buy a new inhaler once per month with daily use. With the PBS subsidy, the ARNUITY ELLIPTA 100mcg dose inhaler at full price will cost up to $34 and the higher dose of 200mcg will cost up to $40, each month. For those on concession or pension cards, the ARNUITY ELLIPTA PBS prescription is priced at $6.50. In comparison, other treatments can yield up to three months’ supply for a maximum price of $40 per device, at full price.

“Prescribers need to take this into consideration and talk to a patient about their personal circumstances before prescribing asthma medication.  Unaffordable medicine is not the right medicine. This may include frequent doctor’s bills to renew prescriptions regularly,” said Ms Goldman.

However, she said the benefits of the once-daily inhaler medication might result in people being more inclined to use it, meaning better asthma control. Just one dose per day is much more convenient, it may mean less skipping or forgetting doses which is much better overall,” she said.

Arnuity Ellipta

Image taken from GSK Patient Information Sheet.

According to Asthma Australia’s Asthma Educators, the device is easy to use so there is less potential for error. The device style of the ELLIPTA is particularly suited to the elderly or those with arthritis, vision impairments and low inspiratory flow.

“Apart from being very easy to use, the device design means those with arthritis do not have to push down on a canister to release the medication, and there’s a large dose meter on the device for easy reading,” said Asthma Australia Educator, Karyn Oster. “I speak to people who have this issue, so this option is good from a device usability perspective,” she said.

Prescribers and pharmacists are being encouraged to give each patient with a prescription for the ARNUITY ELLIPTA a comprehensive overview of how to use the device correctly and to check a patient’s personal circumstance to ensure affordability is not a barrier to managing their asthma medication.

Visit the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme website for more information about medication prices at http://www.pbs.gov.au/pbs/home

If you’d like to speak with an Asthma Australia Asthma Educator about your asthma or your asthma medication, please phone the free 1800 ASTHMA service on 1800 278 462.