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Why is disulfiram not on the PBS?

Wendy L Lipworth, Alex D Wodak, Paul S Haber and Richard O Day
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (7): 371-372. || doi: 10.5694/mja11.10708
Published online: 3 October 2011

High public interest does not guarantee affordability

Alcohol dependence is a common, disabling and costly medical condition that affects 4% of Australian adults.1,2 Several pharmacological therapies are now available in Australia to treat alcohol dependence, including disulfiram, acamprosate and naltrexone. While all three medicines are registered in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), only acamprosate and naltrexone are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Recent reviews show that supervised administration of disulfiram is both effective and safe. Accordingly, disulfiram should be made more available and accessible through PBS listing.

  • Wendy L Lipworth1
  • Alex D Wodak2
  • Paul S Haber3
  • Richard O Day4

  • 1 Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Drug Health Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: w.lipworth@unsw.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

Wendy Lipworth is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship. Wendy Lipworth and Richard Day are supported by an NHMRC Program Grant.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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