New five-year contaceptive gets subsidised
A NEW blockbuster five-year, low-hormone contraceptive that will save women up to $160 a year will be subsidised by the Federal Government.
The listing of Kyleena - the first time a new long-acting reversible device has been subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for 15 years - comes as doctors plan to spruik the benefits of replacing oral contraceptives with those directly inserted into the uterus.
The smaller, low-dosage device will benefit younger women and those who have not had children, although it can also be used by women in their 40s.
It means instead of needing to regularly go to the doctor and request a prescription for the pill, women will need only one appointment to have the contraceptive inserted, saving patients up to $160 a year.
Over five years, consumers could collectively save $93 million - as well as taking pressure off GP appointments.
While there are other similar devices on the market, Kyleena's low dosage benefits many women and has no impact on fertility after it is removed.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Kyleena would be listed on the PBS from March.
"This is the first new form of long-acting reversible contraception to be subsidised on the PBS in more than 15 years and will provide Australian women with greater choice,'' Mr Hunt told The Courier-Mail.
"Most Australian women - 81 per cent - aged 16 to 49 years use some form of contraception, and more than 200,000 women per year may choose to use this form of contraceptive.
"Without the subsidy, women would pay $160 per application a year to access this medicine. As a result of this listing on the PBS, they will now only pay as little as $6.60 per application for concessional scripts, just $41 per application for general scripts."
Family Planning NSW medical director Deborah Bateson said longer-term contraceptive options were highly effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies and were very affordable.
"We know having a range of contraceptive options available is crucial for reducing unplanned pregnancies but also achieving high-quality reproduc-tive and sexual health services.
"We know different types of contraceptives will suit different people at different stages of their reproductive life, so a wide choice of methods and increased affordability through government subsidy is precisely what is needed."
Only about 12.5 per cent of Australian women take long-acting reversible contraception, compared to the global benchmark of almost 15 per cent.