HomeHealthThese medications are now cheaper, and there’s more to come

These medications are now cheaper, and there’s more to come

New prescription medicines have been added to the list of those allowable under the federal government’s new 60-day prescriptions scheme. The additions mean medications for conditions such as menopause, prostate cancer and breast cancer now qualify.

The new wave of medicines is the second of a three-stage introduction. The first group came on board last September and a third group will be added in September this year.

What are 60-day prescriptions?

Until last year, Australian GPs were restricted in the length and number of prescriptions they could dispense to patients. Prescription lengths were capped at 30 days and the number of prescription repeats at five, effectively limiting them to six months. 

This resulted in patients having to visit pharmacists at least once a month, creating difficulties for those with mobility issues. The introduction of 60-day prescriptions with five repeats means a 12-month prescription is now possible. This frees up time for GPs as well as reducing for patients the number of visits to doctors and chemists.

What’s more, in most cases the cost of a 60-day script will be the same as for a 30-day script. As well as saving time, this will also be a boon for those squeezed by the current cost-of-living crunch. 

Do all medicines qualify?

No, not all medicines qualify. As a result, this may alleviate some of the concerns raised by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The guild’s position ahead of this introduction was that it would lead to some pharmacies being “driven to the wall”.

But the number of medications that qualify for 60-day prescriptions will be limited to around 300, even after the third stage is implemented in September.

The initial ‘intake’ of medications last year included those for a relatively limited group of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, gout, heart failure, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis.

As of 1 March, the second stage has brought the inclusion of a host of other conditions, including:

  • androgen deficiency
  • arthritis
  • bipolar disorder
  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • hypothyroidism
  • incontinence
  • menopause
  • migraine
  • prostate cancer
  • prostate enlargement

The third and final stage of the implementation will take place on 1 September 1 2024. To date the government is still in the process of determining which medications will qualify as 60-day prescriptions for that stage.

The government’s Health website says the “medicines chosen for this program are established, safe and effective medicines”. They are considered and recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee as clinically safe and suitable as 60-day prescriptions.

What you need to know about 60-day prescriptions

Firstly, you do not need a concession card to access a 60-day prescription. However, you will need a doctor’s approval.

Your doctor retains full clinical discretion over what quantity of medicine is prescribed to you. This will be based on their assessment of your condition at the time. You’ll need to discuss your suitability with your doctor in person. However, if you are assessed as having a stable ongoing health condition, approval is likely.

Additionally, existing 30-day prescriptions do not qualify, so to take advantage of 60-day prescriptions you’ll have to visit your GP to obtain a new one. 

The full list of scripts now available via the scheme can be found on the government’s Health website here.

Have you taken advantage of the new 60-day prescriptions? Which medications do you believe should be added to the next phase of the scheme? Let us know via the comments section below.

Also read: Here’s what new 60-day prescriptions mean for you and your hip pocket

Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigaczhttps://www.patreon.com/AndrewGigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.
- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -


- Advertisment -

Log In

Forgot password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.