Prescription medicines to cost less

Prescription medicines to cost less
Prescription medicines to cost less

Changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the introduction of 60-day prescriptions are working to reduce everyday costs for Australians.

On 1 January 2023 the Albanese Government lowered the maximum cost of prescription medications listed on the PBS saving Australians more than $240 million in 2023.

Since September 2023, 60-day prescriptions have made selected PBS medicines cheaper for Australians with a range of ongoing stable health conditions, already saving patients over $7.2 million.

Almost 2 million 60-day scripts were dispensed between September and December 2023, and with the number of medications available as 60-day scripts set to rise to 300 by September this year the savings will continue to grow.

The Albanese Government also reduced the PBS Safety Net Threshold, so more pensioners and concession cardholders get free medicines, sooner.

This has reduced the yearly medicine costs for those 2 million Australians by as much as 25 per cent.

From 1 February 2024, Australians with advanced melanoma will have access to the combination medicine nivolumab with relatlimab (Opdualag®).

Opdualag will be listed for the first time to treat patients with advanced stage melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed by surgery.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world with one person dying from melanoma every six hours.

Minister Mark Butler said, “The listing of Opdualag will be life changing for Australians living with advanced stage melanoma. Instead of paying over $315,000 for treatment now the maximum they will pay is PBS prices.”

Around 940 patients each year are expected to benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, they could pay around $315,000 per course of treatment.

At the same time, the Government is supporting local pharmacies to continue their crucial role in the healthcare system, especially in regional, rural and remote parts of the country.

Through the Regional Pharmacy Transition Allowance and the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance, the government provided $26 million to eligible pharmacies between 1 July and 31 December 2023.

“Combined with our tripling of the Medicare bulk billing incentive and opening of 58 Urgent Care Clinics across the country, we’re making it easier and cheaper for Australians to see a doctor,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

January, 22, 2024