New analysis by the Department of Health and Aged Care shows that more than 1.6 million prescriptions for medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) were cheaper in January, after the maximum co-payment was reduced from $42.50 to $30.
1.3 million of those cheaper prescriptions received the full $12.50 discount, with total savings of $18 million enjoyed by Australians at the pharmacy in the month of January.
If the January savings are repeated across the course of 2023, the total savings flowing back into the pockets of Australians with a Medicare card will amount to $218 million, which is more than the $200 million in annual savings that the government had been forecasting before the price reduction came into effect.
This shows that the government’s cheaper medicines policy is helping to make medicines more affordable and accessible, and take the sting out of the rising cost of living.
Someone taking one medication a month could save as much as $150 every year, or a family taking two or three medications could save as much as $300-$450 a year.
Table 1 – PBS subsidised prescriptions dispensed to general (non-concessional) patients in January 2023
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“The Albanese Government’s cheaper medicines policy is changing lives.
“Over 1.6 million prescriptions were cheaper in January thanks to our Government’s policy with patients saving over $18 million.
“Cheaper medicine is not just putting money back into patients’ pockets, it's also good for Australia's health.”