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Here are the most used and most expensive drugs in Australia

Photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images.

NPS MedicineWise, an independent, not-for-profit and evidence-based organisation, has released a list of the top 10 subsidised drugs for the year July 2014 – June 2015.

According to the data, cholesterol-lowering drugs used to help prevent heart attacks and stroke are the most prescribed and dispensed pharmaceutical in Australia.

The Australian government spent more than $311 million on just 176,062 Adalimumab prescriptions between July 2014 and June 2015.

That drug is used to treat patients with diseases like arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Interestingly, for first time in 20 years a statin — drugs used to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood — did not top the “most costly” drug list.

In prior years, the most expensive drugs listed were the most frequently prescribed. However this year the medicines are for comparably rarer conditions and older, more common drugs have gone off patent and the prices drop.

The figures below are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions from the date of supply, and do not include private prescriptions or prescriptions under the co-payment.

Chart: www.nps.org.au * Defined daily dose/thousand population/day is a more useful measure of drug utilisation than prescription counts. It shows how many people in every thousand Australians are taking the standard dose of a drug every day. DDD includes use in combination products. The calcuation is based on ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics for June 2014 (as at December 2014). † The World Health Organization has not allocated a DDD for this drug.
Chart: www.nps.org.au * Defined daily dose/thousand population/day is a more useful measure of drug utilisation than prescription counts. It shows how many people in every thousand Australians are taking the standard dose of a drug every day. DDD includes use in combination products. The calcuation is based on ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics for June 2014 (as at December 2014). † The World Health Organization has not allocated a DDD for this drug.
Chart: www.nps.org.au * Defined daily dose/thousand population/day is a more useful measure of drug utilisation than prescription counts. It shows how many people in every thousand Australians are taking the standard dose of a drug every day. DDD includes use in combination products. The calcuation is based on ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics for June 2014 (as at December 2014). † The World Health Organization has not allocated a DDD for this drug.

While medical editor of the publication Dr John Dowden said none of the drugs on the lists are misused or used recreationally, drug abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in Australia is at the highest level ever.

According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report in 2013, the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is at the highest level among Australians (aged 14 years or over) since 1998.

4.7% of Australians had misused pharmaceutical drugs in the previous 12 months, compared to 3.7% in 2007.

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