On 1 May 2021 Epidyolex, the first medicinal cannabis drug product was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The costs of drug products listed on the PBS are subsidised by the Australian Government.
Epidyolex is used in combination with at least two other anti-epileptic medicines to treat Dravet syndrome – a genetic epileptic disease that gives rise to seizures that doesn’t respond well to standard medications.
While Epidyolex is the second medicinal cannabis drug registered for supply in Australia, it is the first to be listed on the PBS. Around 116 patients will benefit from this listing. Previously, they would have had to pay more than AUD24,000 per year for treatment but will now pay only AUD41.30 per script or AUD6.60 if they have a concession card.
This listing is a pivotal development, allowing greater access to medicinal cannabis drug products in Australia.