On 1 December 2010, anakinra (Kineret) will be deleted from the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. Anakinra will continue to be available as a private prescription.

Anakinra is currently a PBS authority listing for severe active rheumatoid arthritis. It is an interleukin-1 (IL-1) inhibitor and classified as a biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (bDMARD).

In December 2009, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee reviewed the clinical evidence for bDMARDs and their cost-effectiveness. The committee found that a significant price reduction was warranted for all bDMARDs listed on the PBS for rheumatoid arthritis. 1 The sponsor of anakinra did not agree to the new price, and as a result it will be removed from the PBS.2 Abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and rituximab (Mabthera) remain PBS listed for severe active rheumatoid arthritis. An additional three bDMARDs will be PBS subsidised for rheumatoid arthritis from 1 August 2010: certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi) and tocilizumab (Actemra).2

People receiving anakinra will need to see their specialist before 1 December 2010 to consider a transition to a PBS-subsidised treatment. From May 2009 to April 2010, 225 prescriptions and repeats for anakinra were reimbursed on the PBS, enough for ongoing supply for about 20 patients.3