Strengthening the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

The Abbott Government is ensuring that Australians continue to have affordable access to new, innovative potentially lifesaving medicines under changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).

Page last updated: 13 May 2014

PDF Printable version of Strengthening the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PDF 78 KB)

13 May 2014

The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

Over the past decade, the cost of the PBS has gone up a staggering 80 per cent.

Demand for the PBS will continue to grow, and we want to list medicines quickly.

As more high cost medicines are listed, and more patients require access to these treatments, the cost to taxpayers will increase.

This continual pipeline of new, potentially lifesaving listings is one reason why longer term growth in PBS spending is expected to average between four and five per cent a year. The Government must manage this to continue to keep medicines affordable for the many Australians who need them.

The Abbott Government is facing up to the structural challenges that have been ignored for too long.

Over the last eight months, the Government has undertaken extensive economic analysis and received the findings of an audit. The Government has been working methodically through all of the options to see where we can get the best outcomes for our country in the fairest way possible.

By asking consumers to share in the cost, the Government can build a sustainable PBS that can continue to subsidise new and innovative medicines, making otherwise prohibitively expensive treatments affordable for all Australians.

The Government’s contribution to the PBS will continue to grow.

In 2014-15 the Government will invest $9.2 billion for the PBS and by 2017-18 that investment grows to $10.3 billion.

From 1 January next year, general patients will contribute $5 more per prescription for PBS-listed medicines. Concessional patients, including pensioners and veterans, will pay 80 cents more.

The Government is also increasing the PBS safety net thresholds over four years, starting from 1 January next year.

The safety net threshold for general patients will increase by 10 per cent above CPI each year for four years, commencing in 2015.

The safety net threshold for concessional patients will increase by two prescriptions each year – from the current 60 prescriptions to 62 in 2015 and up to 68 in 2018.

All Australians will benefit from a stronger PBS – so everyone has a responsibility to contribute their fair share to keep the system affordable.

As a result of Labor’s poor Budget management, wasteful spending and increasing debt, Australia has been living beyond its means.

The Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long term challenges before us.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220

In this section