Medicines set to become cheaper

From Monday, thousands of older Australians taking a number of common medicines will pay less for them following government negotiations with the makers of generic drugs.

Prices will be reduced on a total of 24 medicines across 226 brands for people who are not eligible for government concessions. Among the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) drugs affected are:

  • pregabalin (Lyrica): around 200,000 patients with neuropathic pain will now pay $33.38 per script, a saving of up to $6.12
  • oxycodone (Endone): people with severe pain that does not respond to standard analgesics will pay $48.61 for this medication, down from $55.24
  • valsartan with hydrochlorothiazide: about 4500 patients with high blood pressure will now pay $23.96 per script, a saving of up to $2.18
  • dorzolamide (Timolol): about 1300 glaucoma patients will now pay $19.18 for these eye drops, a saving of $3.02.

 

Among the biggest savings will be hundreds of dollars shaved off a medication to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. Bosentan, marketed as Apotex, will drop from $2342 to $1583.

Organ transplant recipients and patients suffering with HIV/AIDS will also save big time. Valganciclovir, an antiviral that suppresses infection, will cost $3059, down from $3631.

Search the full list of medications that will become less expensive to see if it is one your doctor prescribes you.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the price drops will save consumers and taxpayers more than $344 million, delivering cheaper medicines for patients and more support for listing more new medicines on the PBS.

By law, pharmaceutical companies must reveal the prices at which they sell multi-branded PBS medicines to wholesalers and pharmacies.

If the Government is paying a significantly higher price, this is reduced to bring the PBS price closer to the general market price.

“We are currently making on average one new or amended PBS listing per day,” Mr Hunt said. “We are subsidising all drugs recommended by the independent medical experts.”

In the May Budget, the Government announced an extra $2.4 billion would be spent on new medicines.

“Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class healthcare system,” the Minister said.

Do you have to pay for your prescriptions because you do not have a health concession card? Are there some medicines you believe should be listed on the PBS but are not? Do you use generic or branded drugs?

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Written by Olga Galacho

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