Sans Souci mother joins fight to have eczema treatment added to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Appeal for help: Maria Kaloudis, of Sans Souci, was part of a group that went to Canberra last month to lobby the federal government to help those suffering from severe eczema. Picture: Supplied
Appeal for help: Maria Kaloudis, of Sans Souci, was part of a group that went to Canberra last month to lobby the federal government to help those suffering from severe eczema. Picture: Supplied

A Sans Souci mother has joined the fight to improve the lives of Australians affected by severe eczema by lobbying the federal government to add a treatment to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Maria Kaloudis, whose close family members have suffered from severe eczema all their lives, was among a group of people who travelled to Canberra last month to ask the government to step in.

Ms Kaloudis previously wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking him to step in to add Dupixent to the PBS.

Dupixent is available on compassionate grounds to some eczema patients, who have described it as "life-changing", ending the itch and pain associated with the condition.

But others can only get relief if they can afford the $1600 a month, or $20,000 a year cost of the drug, which is injected into patients.

A government advisory committee is due to review the cost-effectiveness of the medication for the third time in March, prompting those affected by the condition to travel to Canberra on February 27 to make a presentation to parliamentarians.

"I'm sending an SOS to the federal government because eczema is agony," Ms Kaloudis said.

"It means sleepless nights, discomfort and pain, feeling like you have bugs crawling under your skin.

"There's medicine available that can end this misery and we are appealing to the federal government to subsidise it in Australia.

"We need to ensure that the federal government fully understand the distress, pain [and] sleep disruption, and do not overlook it amid all the other budget priorities."

The Canberra visit was organised by Eczema Support Australia. Its founder and director Melanie Funk, the mother of twin boys with severe eczema, said no one should have to endure the agony of uncontrolled eczema.

About 800,000 Australians are affected by eczema and of those cases 27,000 are considered severe.

For information about Eczema Support Australia click here or to visit their Facebook page click here.