The price of Australia's most common medicines could soon be halved

Photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images.

Australians could soon see the prices of some of its most common medicines halved under a new generic drug deal.

Pressure is mounting on the Senate to pass the legislation this week after Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, signed an $18.9 billion deal with the Pharmacy Guild and Generic Medicines Industry Association which could drop the prices of over 2,000 common prescription medicines.

Ley said that the focus should be on having “more affordable medicines for consumers” especially since “so many Australians now are suffering from chronic diseases”.

In particular, Ley pointed to medication for cholesterol and heart conditions which could drop to $10 per script for general patients.

The high costs prescription medicine has been under public debate in recent years, with reports showing that nearly one in 10 Australians don’t take medicines a doctor prescribes because of the cost.

Research by the Grattan Institute revealed that Australia’s drug prices were almost 16 times higher than the best price in the UK, New Zealand and Canada.

The price of packet of Atorvastatin, an anti-cholesterol medication, cost $19.32 with the same pills costing $A2.01 in New Zealand and $A2.84 in Britain.

“Overall within this package there is a very strong downward trend on the price of medicines, particularly the most common and popular medicines that people take,” Ley said.

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