Cheaper medicines from this weekend

MILLIONS of prescriptions for common medicines, treating everything from cholesterol to high blood pressure, will drop in price for consumers by as much as $20 - or 60 per cent - from this weekend, according to Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.

The price of a large proportion of expensive combination medicines and patent-protected drugs listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will drop this weekend, in addition to the annual April changes.

This will see the total number of medicines taking a price reduction rise to over 400 this weekend, more than quadruple the usual number at this time of year.

Ms Ley said the changes were key elements of the Coalition's Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme reform package, which passed the Senate last year.

"This weekend Australians will see many common medications reduce in price for consumers by as much as $20 per script - some for the first time ever - as part of our commitment to making medicines more affordable and accessible for Australians," Ms Ley said.

"With one-in-five Australians now living every day with multiple chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, eye disease and depression, this could save patients as much as $500 per year.

"We are also bolstering the future sustainability of the PBS and our ability to invest in new medicines by ensuring taxpayers are paying fair prices for drugs currently protected against competition."

"For example, since the introduction of these reforms, we have invested more than $3 billion in listing new medicines on the PBS, including break through cures for melanoma, breast cancer and Hepatitis C.

"We fought hard for this brave and bold reform and it's now paying off for consumers, taxpayers and the nation."

Ms Ley said further price reductions of as much as 50 per cent or more were coming for consumers in October 2016 when thousands of common PBS medications reflect the cost of cheaper generic versions, rather than premium brands.

"We're also seeing strong take up of competition reforms introduced as part of PBS package allowing pharmacists to discount scripts by up to $1," she said.

"Our PBS reforms also support our integrated approach to tackling issues such as chronic disease, mental and digital health, with a doubling of funding for primary care programs in pharmacies to $1.2 billion."

EXAMPLES

F2 Combination Drugs (two types of drugs combined into one):

  • Amlodipine with atorvastatin for high blood pressure and high cholesterol: around 360,000 scripts for about 41,500 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $23.05 cheaper per script (up to 60 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $45.40 to $15.25 (5 mg amlodipine with 20 mg atorvastatin form);
  • Clopidogrel with aspirin for heart conditions: around 149,000 scripts for about 19,900 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $21.49 cheaper per script (up to 56 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $39.81 to $16.81 (75 mg form);
  • Perindopril with indapamide for high blood pressure: around 463,000 scripts for about 54,000 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $5.95 cheaper per script (up to 27 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $21.76 to $15.81 (both 5 mg perindopril arginine with 1.25 mg indapamide and 4 mg perindopril erbumine with 1.25 mg indapamide forms); and
  • Latanoprost with timolol for glaucoma: around 78,000 scripts for about 10,500 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $10.99 cheaper per script (up to 28 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $40.38 to $27.31 (50 mg latanoprost with 5 mg timolol form).

F2 Standard Single Molecule Drugs:

  • Celecoxib for osteoarthritis: around 583,000 scripts for about 259,000 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $7.30 cheaper per script (up to 25 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $29.33 to $22.03 (both 100 mg and 200 mg forms);
  • Rosuvastatin for high cholesterol (second highest PBS script volume in 2013-14): around 2.9 million scripts for about 429,000 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $3.45 cheaper per script (up to 11 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $29.28 to $25.83 (20 mg form);
  • Esomeprazole for gastro intestinal disease: around 2.5 million scripts for about 546,500 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $4.51 cheaper per script (up to 11 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $37.86 to $33.35 (both 40 mg forms);
  • Atorvastatin for high cholesterol (highest PBS script volume in 2013-14): around 2.9 million scripts for about 397,000 general non-concessional patients per year will be up to $1.31 cheaper per script (up to six per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $19.29 to $17.98 (80 mg form).
  • Desvenlafaxine for treating major depressive disorders will be up to $5.80 cheaper per script (up to 16 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $36.06 to $30.26 (50 mg form); and
  • Duloxetine for treating major depressive disorders will be up to $2.15 cheaper per script (up to 9 per cent cheaper for consumers). On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $21.89 to $19.74 (60 mg form).

F1 Patent Protected Drugs:

  • Lenalidomide for cancer (multiple myeloma): 4611 scripts will cost taxpayers $346.71 less per script. On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $6,981.13 to $6,634.42 (25 mg form);
  • Dasatinib for cancer (leukaemia): 698 scripts will cost taxpayers $300.69 less per script. On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $6,160.70 to $5,860.01 (70 mg form);
  • Adalimumab for Crohn's disease: 131,638 scripts will cost taxpayers $244.50 less per script. On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $5,036.87 to $4,792.37 (40 mg form); and
  • Bosentan for cardio vascular disease (pulmonary arterial hypertension): 9239 scripts will cost taxpayers $143.82 less per script. On 1 April 2016 the dispensed price reduced from $2,923.40 to $2,779.58 (125 mg form).


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