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A new biologic treatment for a debilitating skin disease

Photo: Drug for painful skin disease on the PBS
Dermatologists have welcomed the listing of drug Humira on the PBS, a new biologic treatment for a debilitating skin disease.

Australians suffering from an extremely painful and debilitating skin disease known as hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) now have access to a new class of drug without the hefty price tag.

HUMIRA (adalimumab) - a biologic treatment designed to stimulate or restore the ability of the body's immune system - has been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of the chronic, inflammatory disease.

Without PBS approval, this medicine would cost around $35,000 per course of treatment.

It will now only cost patients who qualify for the PBS subsidy $38.80 or $6.30 for concession.

About one in 50 Australian adults, or around 130,000, suffer from HS, which causes boil-like wounds.
The federal government estimates around 400 patients with moderate to severe HS are expected to benefit from the PBS listing.

Dermatologist Saxon Smith - who works at the HS clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital - says the diagnosis and treatment of the disease can be frustrating for both the doctor and patient and the PBS listing is very welcome news.

"HS is one of the most distressing diseases analysed in dermatology to date and can have a severe impact on patient's quality of life," Prof Smith said.


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