PBS News

Removal of anakinra (brand name Kineret) from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

5th July 2010

The biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (bDMARD) anakinra (Kineret) will be removed from the PBS on 1 December 2010.

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recently recommended a significant price reduction for all bDMARDs listed on the PBS for treatment of severe active rheumatoid arthritis, following a review of the evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of these drugs.

A new subsidy price has been agreed between the Government and bDMARD sponsors. However, the sponsor of Kineret, Invida Australia Pty Ltd, has not agreed to the new price. As a result it will be removed from the PBS from 1 December 2010. This date has been chosen to give patients sufficient time to transition to other PBS subsidised treatments.

There are currently five other bDMARDs subsidised by the PBS for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis – abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) and rituximab (Mabthera). A further three bDMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis will be subsidised on the PBS from 1 August 2010 – certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi) and tocilizumab (Actemra). 

PBS prescriptions for anakinra will remain valid until 30 November 2010. Patients currently receiving anakinra under the PBS are advised to contact their prescriber to discuss alternative subsidised treatment options.

The Department is working closely with Medicare Australia and prescribers to ensure a smooth transition for all patients affected by this change. If you have any questions, please contact the PBS Information Line on 1 800 020 613.