April 6th, 2011Site News
This could be excellent news for people within the catchment area, I do hope Nicola Roxon comes through for you guys!
Tags: asia, australasia, australia, botox, dermatologist, disease, doctors, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, ets, excessive sweating, help, hope, hyperhidrosis, medical, possible, products, subsidised, subsidy, surgery, treatment
BOTOX could be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to help people with excessively sweaty underarms and palms.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon confirmed she was considering subsidising Botox, a move dermatologists fear could result in rogue doctors exploiting the system to treat patients for cosmetic purposes.
The most common use for Botox, or botulinum toxin type A, is to minimise wrinkles and lines by paralysing muscles in the face.
The drug is already listed on the PBS for the treatment of severe spasms and spasticity in elderly patients or for certain medical conditions.
Ms Roxon said her Government had deferred a decision to list Botox, alongside five other medications.
A spokesman for Ms Roxon said the listing was deferred due to “difficult fiscal circumstances” but would be reconsidered when the financial situation allowed.
David Francis from the Australasian College of Dermatologists agreed the PBS listing should be extended to cover patients with excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis.
“This is a debilitating condition, you-can’t-go-out-of-the-house type suffering,” Dr Francis said.
He said patients struggled with the cost of Botox at $500 or more an ampoule, requiring one ampoule per treatment every six to 12 months.
The only other option for patients is to have an operation to sever a nerve in the neck that causes the sweating, although this carries the risks of any surgical procedure.
Dr Francis admitted there was room for exploitation. “There may be the unscrupulous people who may say they’re treating underarms and using the rest on wrinkles,” he said. “It would be simple to catch doctors who took advantage of the subsidy. Most dermatologists would see no more than one or two patients a year with the condition.”
The Government last week listed seven new medicines and vaccines that would be available on the PBS from April 1 and announced the deferral of listings for the first time.
Ms Roxon said that while there were alternatives for the other five medications deferred, there was no alternative treatment for hyperhidrosis.
The chair of the Australian Medical Association’s Therapeutics Committee, John Gullotta, said the Government should say when it would make a decision about Botox.