Slash
Select Page

Dexamethasone for Uveitis on PBS

Dexamethasone for Uveitis on PBS

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists is pleased with the announced introduction of dexamethasone (Ozurdex®) as a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) authority prescription for non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment.

The inclusion of the medication on the PBS means that approved patients will not have to pay the full price for the medication. Before 1 April 2018, patients living with uveitis who are prescribed dexamethasone may have needed to pay over $2,700 per course for the treatment and management of the condition. From 1 April 2018, approved patients are able to purchase the medication with access to the PBS maximum patient co-payment rate of $39.50 per course of treatment, or at $6.40 concession.

RANZCO advocated for the inclusion of dexamethasone onto the PBS, in order to allow uveitis patients access to a potentially vision-saving medication. In the decision of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, RANZCO’s comments to the PBAC were noted as part of the positive consideration. Earlier this week, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed the inclusion of dexamethasone for non-infections uveitis on the PBS, as per the PBAC recommendation.

RANZCO is delighted by this outcome and will continue to work with the Department of Health to drive improvements in eye health care in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.

New Medicare item number (42705) listed for MIGS

New Medicare item number (42705) listed for MIGS

Following continued discussions between RANZCO and the federal Department of Health, a new Medicare item number (42705) has been listed today for the implant of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices. The new item number is an interim measure only, with a current expiry date of 31 December 2017.

It follows the notification that as of 1 May the goniotomy item number 42758 cannot be used for the implant of MIGS devices. The new item number is specifically designed to allow the continued implant of devices whilst a full MSAC review is underway. It can only be done in conjunction with cataract surgery and does not provide a specific rebate for the surgical component other than the cataract element.

However, following the discussions with the Department of Health it should not be assumed that the restrictions applied now, including the implant in conjunction with cataract surgery, will be the same if the MSAC review is positive. RANZCO will continue to work with MSAC and the Department of Health as they undertake a full review with a result expected later this year.

The exact item number is:

Upcoming changes to Ophthalmology MBS items 1/5

From 1 May 2017, a number of changes to Ophthalmology procedural Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items will take effect. These have been a product of ongoing discussions between the College and the Department of Health.

Please note that these changes are not part of the formal MBS Review process. The MBS Review Ophthalmology Committee is expected to be announced later this year. The College will continue to update Fellows on the MBS Review and other changes to Ophthalmology MBS items.

One significant change that Fellows should note is the limitation placed on MBS item 42758 (goniotomy). In practice, this change means that glaucoma stents cannot be billed for MBS rebate using this item. This change came about despite repeated advocacy efforts by the RANZCO Medicare Advisory Committee and the Australia and New Zealand Glaucoma Society to explain the impact of this change to the Department of Health. RANZCO will continue to advocate for the proper inclusion of stents into the MBS schedule.

The full list upcoming changes, effective 1 May, are detailed below. Changes to existing item wording are presented in underline.

  • MBS item 42725: VITRECTOMY via pars plana sclerotomies including the removal of vitreous, division of bands or removal of epiretinal membranes, and including capsulotomy if performed.
  • MBS item 42734: CAPSULOTOMY, other than by laser, not being an item associated with items 42725 or 42731.
  • MBS item 42758: GONIOTOMY for the treatment of primary congenital glaucoma, excluding the minimally invasive implantation of glaucoma drainage devices (H).
  • MBS item 42788: LASER CAPSULOTOMY – each treatment episode to 1 eye, to a maximum of 2 treatments to that eye in a 3 year period, not being an item associated with item 42702.
  • MBS item 42789: LASER CAPSULOTOMY – each treatment episode to one eye – if it can be demonstrated that a third or subsequent treatment to that eye (including any treatments to which item 42788 applies) is indicated in a 2 year period, not being an item associated with item 42702.
  • MBS item 42791: LASER VITREOLYSIS OR CONTRICOLYSIS OF LENS MATERIAL OR FIBRINOLYSIS, excluding vitreolysis in the posterior vitreous cavity – each treatment to 1 eye, to a maximum of 2 treatments to that eye in a 2 year period.
  • MBS item 42792: LASER VITREOLYSIS OR CORTICOLYSIS OF LENS MATERIAL OR FIBRINOLYSIS, excluding vitreolysis in the posterior vitreous cavity – each treatment to one eye – if it can be demonstrated that a third or subsequent treatment to that eye (including any treatments to which item 42791 applies) is indicated in a 2 year period.

Review of Medicines and Medical Device Regulation in Australia

The Australian Government is undertaking an independent review of the regulatory arrangements for medicines and medical devices. RANZCO’s primary concerns in response to the Expert Panel’s discussion paper relate to patient safety; timely patient access to medicines; stable supply to reduce the advent of drug shortages; appropriate red tape for use of unapproved products; and incentives for sponsors to register medicines for niche ophthalmic indications.

RANZCO’s submission is available here.

Submission to the Medical Board of Australia – Revised Draft Standards on Limited Registration and Draft Guideline on Short Term Training in a Medical Specialty Pathway

In this submission RANZCO points out a number of areas for improvement in the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) draft revised standards covering the following limited registration categories: Postgraduate Training or Supervised Practice; Area of Need; Teaching or Research; and Public Interest. The College also welcomes the development of guidance to international medical graduates who apply to undertake short term training in a medical specialty in Australia.

RANZCO’s submission is available here.

Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions

In this submission RANZCO recommends significant reforms to the operation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals. The College considers that patient safety is paramount and supports the resolution of cross professional issues by an independent body. RANZCO reaffirms its support of the Australian Medical Council as the accreditation body responsible for medical courses and vocational training.

RANZCO’s submission is available here.

Get in Touch

Do you have any queries or comments about our website, our products or any  of our services?
RANZCO acknowledges our First Australians, the Traditional Custodians of the land
on which we live and work, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
Gadigal people of the Eora Nation are the traditional custodians of the land
where the RANZCO head office is located.
In recognition that we are a bi-national College, we also
acknowledge the Rangatiratanga of Māori as Tangata Whenua
and Treaty of Waitangi partners in Aotearoa New Zealand.