New affordable drug for eye conditions caused by diabetes complications 24 July 2015 There is new hope for Australians suffering from diabetes-related eye conditions today following the Federal Governmentâ€™s announcement that the drug Lucentis would be subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults in Australia through eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetes macular oedema. Minister for Health Sussan Ley today announced that Lucentis, a new drug for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusion, would now be subsidised for patients with a range of serious eye conditions. Lucentis is effective in slowing or stopping the progression of diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusion which are both degenerative conditions that can lead to blindness. Early identification and early treatment is essential to preventing blindness in people with diabetes. Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson welcomed the decision. â€œDiabetes Australia advocated for listing Lucentis on the PBS on behalf of all Australians with diabetes and their families and carers,â€ Mr Johnson said. â€œThis listing has the potential to make a real difference to the effective treatment of eye problems for the 1.7 million Australians living with diabetes.â€ 18,000 Australian patients will now pay just $6.10 (concessional) or $37.70 (general) for Lucentis as a result of the expanded listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme on 1 July 2015. Diabetes Australia encourages patients to speak to their doctor to see if this medicine is appropriate for them.