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GSK price for Ventolin

Auckland, May 5th 2005

GSK price for Ventolin (Metered Dose Inhaler) unchanged after July 1st 2005 - price to patient to be determined by individual pharmacies

Auckland, May 5th 2005 - Despite claims made by the Asthma & Respiratory Foundation (press release, 4th May 2005), GSK does not intend to change the price it charges for Ventolin to wholesalers after the 1st July when it will become available to New Zealanders on prescription as a private purchase medicine.

“When GSK was informed of PHARMAC’s decision to award the sole supply tender for salbutamol inhalers to an alternative supplier, we had intended to discontinue Ventolin because a fully subsidised alternative would be available. However, following requests from patients and doctors GSK decided to continue to make Ventolin available after the PHARMAC subsidy ends at the end of June,” says Vice President and Managing Director Lisa Bright.

“The only way that GSK could continue to make Ventolin from July 1st is as a private purchase medicine,” says Ms Bright.

Whilst the price GSK charges to wholesalers will not change from that listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule today, the actual price the patient can expect to pay will be determined by individual pharmacies. This could be more or less than what the patient currently pays for their fully subsidised Ventolin inhaler or subsidised alternatives. GSK would urge patients to review prices in more than one pharmacy as prices will vary.

GSK reinforce the comment made by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation in their press release of 4th May 2005 encouraging those who use their asthma reliever more than twice a week to consult their doctor. Over reliance on reliever medications may indicate a person’s asthma is not well-controlled1. Their doctor will advise them on the most appropriate treatment to potentially control their asthma more effectively.

ENDS

Background Information Currently, 90% of people with asthma in New Zealand rely on CFC-free and alcohol-free Ventolin to provide short-term relief of their asthma symptoms. Ventolin has been fully subsidised in New Zealand for over 35 years.


References

1) Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Asthma. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2002; part 2: Vol 10, No 5.

Ventolin (salbutamol) is available as a CFC-free Inhaler, 100mcg per actuation. Ventolin is a fully funded Prescription Medicine. It is a short-acting bronchodilator used for the relief of asthma symptoms. Use strictly as directed. Do not use if you are sensitive to any of the ingredients in the preparation.

Tell your doctor if: you feel that the medicine has become less effective or you are using more than usual; you have hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes; are taking any other medicine or herbal remedy including those you buy from a supermarket, pharmacy or health food shop.

Common Side Effects include headache, nausea, shaky or tense feeling, fast or irregular heart beat, “warm” feeling (caused by blood vessels expanding under the skin), mouth or throat irritation, shortness of breath or wheezing. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor or pharmacist. Additional Consumer Medicine Information for Ventolin is available at www.medsafe.govt.nz. Normal doctor’s fees and pharmacy charges apply. Ask your doctor if Ventolin is right for you.

Ventolin is a trademark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies.

ENDS


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