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HomeminewsMacular Disease Treatment Efficiencies for Rural and Remote Australia

Macular Disease Treatment Efficiencies for Rural and Remote Australia

People living in rural and remote areas of Australia who need treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema and similar conditions will benefit from a procedural change announced by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

The change reduces red tape and allows faster access to sight saving treatment for macular diseases.

Previously, the time-consuming process to obtain PBS approval for the use of these drugs had to be managed by the treating specialist ophthalmologist, who may have only had a day a month in a particular location. This approval process had the potential to limit the time available to treat patients. The new process now allows another clinician, such as a junior registrar working with the specialist, to manage the administrative tasks, thereby freeing up the ophthalmologist’s time.

Julie Heraghty, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia, the national body representing people with macular diseases said, “These relatively simple changes have the potential to have sight-saving outcomes by improving early access to treatment. This is particularly important given the higher rate of untreated eye disease in people living in rural and remote communities, as evidenced in the recent National Eye Health Survey. Early treatment saves sight, so the PBAC is to be congratulated for their flexibility.”

Macular Disease Foundation Australia provides eye care professionals with free information on diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration for distribution to patients. Visit mdfoundation.com.au or contact 1800 111 709.