The Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) has welcomed news that Ferro-F and Ferro-Tabs have been added back to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
The tablets were delisted from the PBS in January last year, which meant that patients no longer had access to these essential medications under subsidised supply and access schemes.
These schemes have been very successful in ensuring access to medications for financially disadvantaged Aboriginal people and those living in remote regions.
AHCWA Public Health Medical Officer Dr Marianne Wood said the delisting had potentially dangerous health implications for Aboriginal people across the country.
“Iron and folate deficiency are significant issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly during pregnancy,” she said.
“Lack of iron can lead to debilitating anaemia, among other complications.”
Dr Wood said AHCWA lobbied to have the medications relisted on the PBS.
“Once these medications were delisted, they were no longer available through the PBS schemes, and could only be obtained over the counter, which posed particular problems for patients living in remote communities which don’t have community pharmacies,” she said.
“We’re very glad that the drugs’ manufacturer, AFT Pharmaceuticals, recognised the importance of this issue and worked with us to have them relisted.
“AHCWA is very pleased that this issue could be resolved, and that the drugs will once again be readily available and subsidised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
“It’s essential for Aboriginal people to have access to affordable medications through the PBS, because there can be serious consequences otherwise.”
Both Ferro-F and Ferro-Tabs will be relisted on the PBS from 5th April 2017.