Alimta has been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme capping an emotional campaign by patients with mesothelioma. The drug, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co., can improve and extend the lives of mesothelioma patients but would normally cost over a thousand dollars per treatment cycle. Now it will be available to patients at cost of around 31 AU$ per prescription.
The addition of the drug was one of the main goals of Australian mesothelioma and asbestos advocate Bernie Banton. Banton, a former employee of James Hardie Industries Ltd., died from malignant mesothelioma in November 2007 after working to secure benefits and increase awareness of the disease that is expected to take the lives of 18,000 Australians by 2020.
Since it began in 1948, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has provided Australians with access to hundreds of life saving drugs at significantly reduced costs.