As of 1 April 2023, there are changes to how you can access and how much you pay for a common asthma preventer medicine for kids.
The main impact will be for parents of kids with asthma or asthma-like symptoms who are prescribed Axotide Junior or Flixotide Junior 50 mcg.
These changes have been made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. How have these changes affected you? If you or your family have been impacted by these changes, please let us know your experience.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Axotide and Flixotide Jnr are inhaled preventer medicines that are prescribed to treat the inflammation (swelling, redness and mucus production) that causes asthma symptoms. These medicines are very good at preventing or lowering the chance of having asthma symptoms and serious asthma flare-ups.
Axotide Jnr and Flixotide Jnr will still be available at your local pharmacy. This new pricing will mainly affect families who hold Concession Cards. These changes will affect whether you can access the medicine at a PBS subsidised price.
Subsidised price means that the government pays a part of the cost of medicine. It is to help make the medicine cheaper for you when prescribed by your doctor.
If you have been told your child needs this medicine, it’s helpful to know how these new rules will affect you and your child and if there are other options.
The change in access to these medicines is found across two age groups:
- Kids under 6 years old.
- Kids over 6 years old.
KIDS UNDER 6 YEARS OLD
Families or carers of kids under 6 who need this medicine can continue to access the medicine with a prescription, paying the private prescription price.
If you hold a Concession Card and rely on a subsidised lower price, there are extra steps that you need to take to access this medicine for your child. These steps are:
- For a new treatment – obtaining their first prescription for the medicine from either a paediatric or respiratory specialist.
- To continue ongoing treatment – obtaining a prescription from either a paediatric or respiratory specialist.
You can then continue to see your family doctor (GP) for ongoing scripts and treatment once it has been prescribed by a specialist as mentioned above.
KIDS 6 YEARS AND OLDER
Families and carers of kids 6 years and older who need this medicine can continue to access the medicine with a private prescription from their doctor.
If you hold a Concession Card, it will be more expensive than before this change. And it may be priced differently at different pharmacies.
Concession Card Holders:
If you hold a Concession Card and cannot afford to buy your child a non-subsidised medicine, it’s best to speak with your child’s doctor.
There may be other medicine choices your doctor can consider that are approved and subsidised under the PBS. They include:
- Budesonide dry powder inhaler (DPI), 100mcg per dose (Pulmicort)
- Beclometasone metered dose inhaler, 50mcg per dose (Qvar)
- Ciclesonide MDI, 80mcg per dose (Alvesco)
- Fluticasone propionate dry powder Accuhaler 100mcg (Axotide, Flixotide Junior Accuhaler)
Note that these medicines may come in a different device. You and your child will need to learn how to use them correctly to get the best treatment.
You can still get Axotide Junior or Flixotide Junior from your pharmacy if prescribed by your doctor. The main difference is that if you don’t qualify for the PBS subsidy, you will now pay more for the medicine at the pharmacy.
From April 1, full fee using a private prescription will cost you between $11-18 for Axotide and between $15-22 for Flixotide depending on the pharmacy.
Concession Card rates will no longer apply unless you qualify for the PBS subsidy. You can only qualify for the PBS subsidy if:
- You are under 6 years and
- If your prescription was first started by a specialist or continued by a specialist if first started by your family doctor.
The difference in price between the PBS subsidised price and the private script price may be up to $10 depending on whether or not you are a concession card holder.
Want to know more? For more information about your child’s asthma or to speak with an Asthma Educator about your asthma, call 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).
How have these changes affected you or your family? Let us know by completing the form below: