New Parkinson’s drug in Australia

Doctors and patients have welcomed the introduction of a new Parkinson’s disease drug to the Australian market.

The federal government has added Azilect, also called rasagiline, to the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The drug, taken in tablet form, reportedly reduces the debilitating symptoms of the disease, but was previously only available over the internet at a huge cost.

“It’s fantastic. It means for the first time Australian patients will have access, through the PBS, to a medication that the rest of the world has had since 2005,” Associate Professor, Simon Lewis, from the Brain & Mind Research Institute in Sydney said.

Concession card holders will be able to buy a month’s dose for as little as $5.80. A similar dose over the internet costs up to $400.

“You had all of these horror stories where patients thought they were buying the real tablets and really not getting much benefit,” Professor Lewis said.

There are over 30 new Parkinson’s disease diagnoses in Australia every day.

Symptoms include trembling and stiffness of the body, which can slow down and prevent full range of movement. The disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will become more severe over time.

Read DPS News’ story on Parkinson’s disease fighter, Jeffery King and his full-time carer wife, Denise, Parkinson’s: fighting the devil within.