PBS-listed progesterone pessary slashes preterm birth risk

Monday, 31 May, 2021

PBS-listed progesterone pessary slashes preterm birth risk

A vaginal progesterone pessary is reported to be the first progesterone treatment to be reimbursed via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the prevention of preterm birth, following research demonstrating that vaginal progesterone can decrease the risk of preterm birth at <34 weeks by 49% and neonatal death by 69%.

Preterm births are the leading cause of death in children under five, with one in 11 babies born prematurely in Australia. It is well established that the earlier a baby is born, the more likely it is to experience complicated medical problems requiring special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Health complications relating to preterm birth include jaundice, breathing difficulties, deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, and lifelong intellectual and developmental disability.

Oripro Progesterone Pessaries — for use in singleton pregnancies which are at risk due to a shortened cervix (mid-trimester sonographic cervix ≤25 mm) and/or where there is a history of spontaneous preterm birth — are set to be reimbursed on the PBS from 1 June, covering the period from 16 weeks’ gestation to the time of birth.

Dr Chris Lehner, Consultant Obstetrician and Obstetric Co-Lead at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, said healthcare professionals will welcome access to effective solutions that reduce the risk of preterm birth.

“Better access to effective options that prevent preterm birth are very welcome. The reality is that one in 11 babies is still born premature in Australia, so it continues to be an important issue,” Dr Lehner said. “Those of us that care for pregnant women at risk of preterm births know how important it is to be able to suggest effective preventive options.”

Perrigo Australia General Manager Leanne Brydon said the company was very proud that its efforts to make Oripro more accessible had been successful.

“The PBS listing for Oripro means that not only pregnant women will have access to Australian-made, government-subsidised vaginal progesterone, but also that the Australian Government supports Australian pharmaceutical manufacturing and local jobs. It’s an exciting milestone for Perrigo.”

The product information can be accessed here.

PBS information is available here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Cari

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