The price of some of Australia’s most commonly prescribed medicines are being dropped, as much as $20 a script, from this weekend.
The reduction in price for over 400 medicines come after the federal government passed a number of changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme last year, which included the cutting of production costs.
“This is not about [the] Government adding money into the PBS, it’s actually about consumers benefitting because the manufacturers of medicines are now being paid less,” health minister Sussan Ley told the ABC.
“Part of our agreement for price reductions now has been the cost of expensive combination medicines that have been priced too highly in the past,” said Ley.
In recent years, the pricing of Australia’s prescription medicines has been high on the agenda especially with an increasing number of Australians living with chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and asthma.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that around half of all Australians have a chronic illness with a fifth having multiple chronic diseases.
As part of the new pricing changes, medicines such as Amlodipine with atorvastatin, which treats high cholesterol, will fall in price from $45.40 to $15.25 per script while Clopidogrel with aspirin, for those suffering from heart conditions, will drop from $39.81 to $16.81.
Other cancer drugs, including Lenalidomide and Dasatinib, as well as Bosentan for cardiovascular disease, will also be reduced in price.
“With one-in-five Australians now living everyday with multiple chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, eye disease and depression, this could save patients as much as $500 per year.”
The next reduction day is expected to take place on October 1.