PBS listing for ulcerative colitis treatment

Monday, 05 July, 2021

PBS listing for ulcerative colitis treatment

Australians living with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC) can now access a PBS-listed oral treatment alternative.

Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor that limits the activation of the immune system that is involved in autoimmune conditions, such as ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory conditions.

UC is one of the two major inflammatory bowel diseases affecting approximately 87,000 Australians, and is characterised by chronic inflammation of the innermost lining of the large intestine. It can cause bleeding, diarrhoea, urgency of bowel movements, abdominal pain, tiredness and weight loss.

Data from an international survey published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, conducted as part of the UC Narrative initiative, showed that the majority of patients with moderate-to-severe UC found the condition mentally exhausting (84%). Respondents also felt their condition controlled their lives (65%), with most patients spending more time in the bathroom than anywhere else (67%).

The majority of survey respondents (83%) confirmed that UC impacted their work, with some reporting diagnoses of anxiety (21%) or depression (15%).

Pfizer Australia welcomed the PBS listing, which reflects Pfizer Australia’s ongoing effort to bring innovative treatments to market for Australian patients.

According to leading specialist for inflammatory bowel disease Professor Jakob Begun, the PBS listing is an important step that has the potential to help many Australian patients experiencing the burden of the disease.

“Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the large bowel characterised by ‘flares’, which can be unpredictable and have a debilitating impact on a patient’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing. This announcement from the government will provide clinicians caring for these patients the ability to explore additional treatment options,” Professor Begun said.

Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, a not-for-profit organisation representing the inflammatory bowel disease community, also welcomed the news.

“Inflammatory bowel disease continues to have a devastating effect on our community. Given the high prevalence of these conditions and broad-range impact on daily lives, it is important that we continue to look at ways to improve treatments and support for people living with ulcerative colitis,” Crohn’s and Colitis Australia CEO Leanne Raven said.

Pfizer Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Anne Harris said the reimbursement listing is a significant step forward in delivering innovative medicines to patients and clinicians.

“We thank the government for recognising the need to deliver additional solutions to those living with this condition and the burden of ill health. We are proud to be playing a positive role in developing and supplying emerging treatments for patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” Harris said.

Consumer Medicine Information is available here.

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

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