We know that people are doing it tough, so we are doing what we can to help you keep more of your own hard-earned money.
One way we are easing cost of living pressures is by making essential medicines cheaper.
Since January 1, we have reduced the price paid for PBS prescriptions by $12.50 a script. Now, the maximum you will pay out of pocket for scripts has been cut from $42.50 to $30.00.
This means that for the first time in the 75-year history of the PBS, the co-payment for general scripts has fallen.
This measure alone has saved people in Boothby more than $900,000 on more than 93,000 prescriptions.
And we aren’t stopping there. From September, 300 PBS listed medications will be available for 60-day dispensing at your local pharmacy.
This will save on trips to the chemist and cut out of pocket costs for consumers.
And, as we have seen from other countries who have adopted 60-day dispending, it will lead to better compliance with taking medications and, most importantly, better health outcomes.
The change means patients living with a chronic, stable condition will be able to buy two months’ worth of these medicines for the price of a single prescription, rather than the current 30-day supply.
People with a Medicare card buying just one of these medicines will save up to $180 every year. Concession card holders will save $43.80 a year for each eligible medicine.
The change to 60-day dispensing was first recommended by the independent experts at the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) back in 2018, but was never implemented by the former government, costing Australians hundreds of millions.
The PBAC reaffirmed and expanded its recommendation in 2022.
The decision to write a script with two months’ worth of medicine will be made by a patient’s GP or other prescriber, based on their professional clinical judgement.
The option to prescribe a one month supply remains.
The new arrangements are supported by consumers, including the Consumer Health Forum, the Heart Foundation, the Lung Foundation, Breast Cancer Network, and by all major doctors’ associations, including the Rural Doctors Association, Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, among others.
Every single dollar saved by the Government from lower dispensing fees will go back into pharmacy services.
More than $1.2 billion will be re-invested into expanded services such as vaccinations, medication safety, and support for opioid dependent patients, and increased financial support to pharmacies in regional, rural and remote Australia.