PBS News

The listing of Lantus and Levemir on the PBS

24 August 2006

What is the Government’s decision on Lantus and Levemir?

The Government has accepted recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to list the drugs insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin detemir (Levemir) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Lantus and Levemir will be listed on the PBS from 1 October 2006.

Lantus will be listed for use in the treatment of patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Levemir will be listed for type 1 diabetes patients only.

Who will qualify for the subsidised drugs?

There are currently about 210,000 patients with Type 1 and Type 2 insulin-dependent diabetes in Australia.

In the first full year of listing, about 110,000 patients are expected to benefit from access to Lantus and Levemir. By 2009-10, about 160,000 patients will benefit each year.

What are Lantus and Levemir?

Lantus and Levemir are long-acting insulin products used in once-daily injections. Unlike any other long-acting insulins, they do not have a peak effect, instead being absorbed equally over 24 hours. They are normally used in combination with short-acting insulin (for type 1 patients), or with oral anti-diabetic drugs (for type 2 patients).

As Lantus and Levemir are longer-acting than the most commonly used insulin (NPH insulin), they can mean one less injection per day for some patients and fewer hypoglycaemic events. Hypoglycaemia can lead to weakness and loss of consciousness.

What will Lantus and Levemir cost?

The listing of these drugs on the PBS and RPBS will cost about $145 million between 2006-07 and 2009-10.

What will patients pay for their Lantus and Levemir prescriptions?

A patient will pay his or her normal co-payment for each prescription filled – this is currently $4.70 for concession card holders and $29.50 for non-concessional patients. Each prescription will normally provide about 6 months of treatment, so the annual cost for patients will be $9.40 or $59.