BOTH NSW Labor and Liberal parties have promised to remove co-payments for chemotherapy if elected to government on Saturday.
Announced on Monday, the Liberal Party’s plan will provide relief to thousands of cancer patients across the state that will see the immediate benefits from the commitment to remove co-payment for highly specialised drugs to treat cancer and other chronic illnesses.
“With less than a few days out from the election, this latest announcement means that all parties in NSW agree with the removal of chemotherapy co-payments,” Cancer Council NSW Bega Community Centre programs coordinator Jennifer Mozina said.
“Cancer Council and NSW community members recently met with the Premier to highlight the issue of chemotherapy co-payments in NSW.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said tens of thousands of patients will benefit from the $76million commitment, which will be implemented in the next term of the Baird government if it is re-elected on Saturday.
“We have taken this commitment to the next level, the Baird government is not just looking at abolishing the co-payment for cancer treatment but also for other chronic illnesses,” Mr Constance said.
“The removal of the co-payment will benefit patients living with cancer, as well as conditions such as HIV, hepatitis, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis, severe allergic asthma and rare diseases, particularly those affecting children, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
“I would like to applaud the efforts of local Cancer Council coordinator Jennifer Mozina, Sue-Ellen Yates and Glenn Cotter, who were passionate and determined to see this outcome when they raised the co-payment concerns with me in 2014.”
Labor’s policy, which would cost $6.2million, would mean cancer patients in public hospitals, and private patients in rural areas, are not charged a co-payment for chemotherapy drugs.
Currently, patients needing highly specialised drugs are required to pay $37.70 per script or $6.10 if they are concessional patients - and this includes script repeats.
These highly specialised drugs - classified as s100 HSD under the Commonwealth’s National Health Act - have been traditionally available in hospital pharmacies only.
Recently, some community pharmacies have been permitted to dispense these drugs.
The Baird government will remove the co-payment for all patients treated by public hospitals, including public non-admitted patients, outpatients or day patients, inpatients on discharge and privately-referred, non-admitted patients treated in public hospitals.
The reform will cover patients who fill their prescriptions through hospital pharmacies or community pharmacies.