PBS BATTLE: Melissa Syme with some of the drugs she needs after an operation to remove a pituitary tumour. Picture: Stuart Wilson.
|Date published: Wednesday, July 12, 2006.
Author: SEAN FORD
Woman's bid for subsidy on drug
A PENGUIN woman who says she needs a vital drug subsidised to maintain her health may face a long wait.
Melissa Syme said she needed adult growth hormone replacement following a 1993 operation to remove a pituitary tumour.
She called on the Federal Government to subsidise the drug through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, but it said there appeared to be no move to seek
subsidies by the producers of the brands she mentioned.
Ms Syme said most of her pituitary gland did not function and she took the necessary hormone replacements covered by the PBS which she could afford.
She said adult growth hormone was not subsidised and she could not afford $6000-$10,000 a year to pay for it.
Without adult growth hormone, she said patients experienced increased body fat, thin skin, reduced muscle mass especially the heart muscle depression,
anxiety and reduced vitality.
"It is potentially a life-threatening condition.
"There are many medicines listed on the PBS for non life-threatening conditions and for conditions which can be overcome to a large extent or completely
by changes in lifestyle and diet.
"Adults who are suffering from adult growth hormone deficiency cannot change this condition through lifestyle or diet."
A spokeswoman for federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said it was up to the drug companies to apply to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to
have drugs listed on the PBS, because the companies had to prove the drugs worked.
She said there was no application before the committee for either of the two brands Ms Syme mentioned Omnitrope and Humatrope and suggested Ms Syme
contact the companies.
Full story available in today's edition of The Advocate.