Australia

IVF genetic services added to Medicare

From November 1, Australians will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for five items covering new pre-implantation genetic testing services provided within the existing IVF process.

Types of genetic disorders able to be tested include, but are not limited to, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, fragile X, neurofibromatosis and Huntington’s disease.

The government is providing $95.9 million so these services can be reimbursed through Medicare.

“This change will give real, practical support to individuals and couples on their fertility journey,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.

“It will help ease the financial strain on people using IVF to conceive.”

Also from 1 November, patients with chronic bowel inflammation will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for non-invasive laboratory tests, reducing the need for diagnostic endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures.

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Patients presenting to a medical practitioner must have been experiencing symptoms suggestive of inflammatory or functional bowel disease for more than six weeks and be under 50 years of age.

Separately, the government is adding a treatment to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for Australians battling a form of breast cancer.

From 1 November, Verzenio (abemaciclib) will be listed for expanded use in combination with fulvestrant.

Mr Hunt said the expanded PBS listing will benefit around 1600 Australians each year.

“Without this PBS subsidy Australian patients would pay around $80,000 per course of treatment, instead they’ll only pay $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card for these medicines,” Mr Hunt said.

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