The more than 110,000 Australians struggling with opioid dependency could have access to medication to help manage their addiction free of charge under a $40 million investment in the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday announced that Buvidal, a brand of buprenorphine, will be listed on the PBS from September 1.
The medication is used to treat opioid dependence in people who are also receiving medical, social and psychological support.
More than 110,000 Australians are struggling with opioid dependence and about 50,000 a day receive treatment for it, a statement from Mr Hunt said.
There has also been an increase in deaths from overdose with 1119 deaths in 2016, the statement said.
Buvidal decreases the effects - such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings to use opioids - of this dependency, and provides a more flexible option to manage it, replacing daily treatment at a pharmacy or dosing point with weekly or monthly injections.
This will remove costs for daily dispensing and reduce travel times, especially for those in regional areas.
It will be free for those in need - saving up to $92 per script of treatment.
"Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid," Mr Hunt said in the statement.
"Together with Medicare, it is the foundation of our world class health care system."
The $40 million PBS investment will also include Kaponal, a brand of morphine, which will be extended under the scheme to include a new indication on the Palliative Care Schedule.
The medication helps relieve chronic breathlessness in the palliative care of those with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac failure, malignancy and other causes.
Almost 20,000 people will benefit from the listing each year, which will see patients pay $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card, instead of $143.
Each medicine was recommended to be added to the PBS by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
Australian Associated Press