The Australian Government has supplemented its Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by lowering the price of nicotine patches for low-income Australians, to help the fight against cancer.

More support will also be given to men with prostate conditions and other life-threatening diseases, in what the government has labelled “a huge boost” in the fight against cancer.

Effective from 1 February 2011, concession card holders will be able to purchase nicotine patches as part of a smoking cessation programme to encourage people to quit. An extension of Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug varenicline was also announced.

Sufferers of prostate disease and bone marrow disorders will also benefit, with GlaxoSmithKline’s benign prostate enlargement medication Avodart and Celgene’s Vidaza, which helps extend the lives of bone marrow disorder sufferers, also made available on the scheme.