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Fri May 29 19:21:16 2020
Cancer drug subsidy cut comes under fire from charities
In its budget announcement on Thursday, the Federal Government indicated it will reduce tax breaks for some cancer drugs from $90 a month to $55 if they are taken for 20 years or more, or $60 if taken for two years.
The announcement came after a report suggested a $10,000 subsidy, given to people with poor test results who are given one of three therapies: tamoxifen, paroxetine or reserpine, was not enough to save lives and families were not being properly supported.
Now, the Opposition says it is about to go on a fishing expedition, asking the Federal Government to ensure other cancer drugs are saved, too.
The Government"s position is that it would require the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to look at new ways to help reduce its cancer drug costs, but critics call it cruel and capricious.
"If the Government believes the people of Queensland need more money to save their lives then it should make sure that it saves those people"s lives - their family"s lives," Environment spokeswoman Catherine King said.
"We do need more money and this Government has promised to do much more."
It would cut funding of a number of drugs from Pillsbury"s list of approved cancer drugs.
"This includes all approved cancer drug lists, including those from Pillsbury, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Cephalon and Abbott Laboratories," the government said in its budget announcement.
Mr King says the decision is also about protecting families struggling to save up for treatment.
"It is absolutely cruel, this idea that families have to compete with their drug companies for a discount when they really shouldn"t have to," she said.
But Dr Martin Davies from Cancer Council of Australia says there will be no saving.
"The only reason that a family does get it is because it"s just been approved," he said.
"And there"s no justification in this proposal to use the budget announcement to come up with new programs to save that family."
Dr Davies says it is also discriminatory that families will have to buy expensive drugs for their sick loved ones if the Government thinks they need more money.
"It"s not an appropriate way to use that money, especially when it"s not even a low price point of $80 a month to have a reduction in funding," he said.
"As we said yesterday, all of this is about protecting the poor from being squeezed out and for the government to get on with the things they"ve got to be doing."
Topics: medical-research, health, federal-government, australia
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