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Australian Medicare records to go online

The Australian Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has said that from 2008 all Australians will be able to access their Medicare records online.

The Australian Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has said that from 2008 all Australians will be able to access their Medicare records online.

Abbott told a health conference in Sydney that electronic records help to streamline care for patients, from a range of health professionals.

"Patients will have secure access via the internet to a full record of their Medicare rebates. There will also be a layman's guide to item descriptors so that patients can readily appreciate the services they have received," promised Abbott. Within 12 months there will be similar arrangements to allow online patients access to their PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) claims history," added Abbott.

Crohn's Disease patients awarded subsidies for Remicade
Also in Australia, changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 October 2007 will provide subsidised access to adults and children of Remicade (infliximab) for the treatment of Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease, an inflammatory disease of the digestive tract, causes chronic abdominal pain, diarrhoea and bowel movements containing blood. Symptoms include fever, anorexia, fatigue and joint pain.

About 2,000 additional Australians will commence Remicade for the treatment of Crohn's disease in the first full year of listing.

The extension to the listing of Remicade is expected to add AUD 53.9m (USD 43.3m) to PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure between 2007-08 and 2010-11.

2nd September 2008

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