Coalition’s poll promise: Cost of medicines to be cut

By Our Reporter
Representational image. Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Millions of Australians taking common medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain relief, depression, diabetes and more will save $10 on scripts with an Australian first reduction in the price of Government subsidised medications.

A re-elected Morrison Government will cut the price of medications listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from January 1 next year, as part of an annual $150 million hip-pocket saving for Australians.

The $10 cut per script means the maximum price Australians will pay for PBS medicines drops from $42.50 down to $32.50, a 24 per cent saving, a joint statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said today.

The Prime Minister said this was the first time the PBS General Co-payment had been reduced by any Government and it could benefit the more than 19 million Australians without a concession card each year.

“Our economic plan is delivering cost of living relief to millions of Australians who will save hundreds of dollars every year on the cost of essential and life saving medications,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is the single most significant change to the cost of and access to medications since the PBS was introduced more than 70 years ago.

“Millions of Australians will soon save $10 per script for common medications, which means those taking one medication a month could save $120 a year, or those taking two medications a month could save $240 a year.

“Because of our strong economic management, the Coalition is winding the clock back on the cost of medications, reducing the cost per script to 2008 prices. This will put more than $150 million back into the pockets of Australians every year.

“There is a clear choice at this election. Australians can vote for a stronger economy under the Coalition, who always delivers affordable medication and cost of living relief, or a weak economy under Labor, who stopped listing medicines on the PBS in 2011 because they could not manage the economy.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said only the Coalition had a strong record of delivering affordable, life saving medications for all Australians.

“Since 2013, the Coalition Government has approved more than 2,900 new or amended listings on the PBS at an overall investment of around $16.5 billion,” Minister Hunt said.

“By listing these medications on the PBS we are ensuring Australians can have access to affordable, life saving medications that would otherwise cost thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, without subsidy.

“In contrast, Labor stopped listing medicines on the PBS in 2011, including medicines for severe asthma, chronic pain, schizophrenia, blood clots, IVF, endometriosis and prostate conditions.”

All scripts currently counting towards a patient’s safety net will continue to do so.

In the 2022-23 Budget, the Coalition invested a further $2.4 billion for new and amended PBS listings including treatments for breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, severe eczema, asthma, spinal muscular atrophy, HIV infection and heart failure.

Recent medicines funded through the PBS:

  • From 1 May 2022, Zolgensma® for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. This would cost patients over $2.5 million per treatment without subsidy by the Government. 
  • From 1 May 2022, Trodelvy® for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. This would cost patients over $80,000 per course without subsidy by the Government.
  • From 1 April 2022, Trikafta® for cystic fibrosis. This would cost patients over $250,000 per year without subsidy by the Government.

A re-elected Morrison Government will continue our policy to list all medicines on the PBS that are recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), the statement added.

In the recent budget, the Coalition invested over $525 million to make medicines more affordable for 2.4 million Australians by lowering the PBS Safety Net threshold from 1 July 2022, benefiting concession card holders and general patients.

Under the changes, concessional patients will reach the PBS Safety Net with 12 fewer filled scripts. For general patients, it’s two fewer scripts – saving over $80 a year before they are eligible to receive free or further subsidised PBS medicines.

Based on fully subsidised prescription volumes in 2021-22, patients across Australia are set to save approximately $150 million per year going forward.

(Media release)

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