Patients Save Money on Life-saving Medicines
From 1 April 2012, the Australian Government reforms will reduce the price of more than 1000 different generic drugs, which will drop by as much as $15 per packet for patients.
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1 April 2012
From today, Gillard Government reforms will reduce the price of more than 1000 different generic drugs, which will drop by as much as $15 per packet for patients.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said under the reforms to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), generic versions of 60 different types of medicine will be cheaper for general patients when they fill their script from April 1. Many patients with concession cards who pay a premium for their brand will also see savings.
“This is great news for millions of Australian patients who will see additional money in their pockets,” said Ms Plibersek.
“The Gillard Government is making sure patients have greater access to the medicines they need at reduced prices – for conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, epilepsy, depression and pain.”
Ms Plibersek said under the PBS Price Disclosure program the price paid for the cholesterol lowering drug Simvastatin, sold under many brand names, will be up to $14.64 cheaper for a packet of 30, 40mg tablets.
The estimated savings for patients average $3 a packet or up to $1.6 billion over the next 10 years.
As part of these reforms, price disclosure and other price reductions will also deliver over $1.9 billion in health savings for taxpayers over five years, which will ensure the PBS remains sustainable and that health dollars can be spent adding new life-saving drugs to the scheme.
“Previously, when medicines came off-patent, they could be sold far more cheaply under different brand names, but they were still eligible for the full reimbursement amount under the PBS.”
“Price disclosure means the price the Gillard Government subsidies medicines for is being brought into line with the market price, ensuring the cheapest possible prescriptions for patients.”
In fact, some of the most commonly used medicines on the PBS will be significantly cheaper. For example, non-concessional patients will save:
- Up to $8.83 for Alendronate, for osteoporosis.
- Up to $8.23 for Baclofen, a muscle relaxant.
- Up to $8.25 for Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic.
- Up to $8.66 for Citalopram, for depression.
- Up to $7.32 for Gemfibrozil, for high cholesterol.
- Up to $9.48 for Omeprazole, for reflux and ulcers.
- Up to $7.97 for Paroxetine, for depression and anxiety.
- Up to $12.90 for Pravastatin, for high cholesterol.
- Up to $8.49 for Sertraline, for depression and anxiety.
Price disclosure has also reduced the special patient contribution (brand premium) on 126 brands of medicine, making them cheaper for all patients (general and concessional) who use that particular brand. For example, patients will save:
- Up to $2.19 on the brand premium for simvastatin brand Zocor®, for high cholesterol.
- Up to $2.45 on the brand premium for citalopram brand Cipramil®, for depression.
These 16% price reductions will also deliver savings direct to some patients with many brands of the following medicines costing less than the general co-payment of $35.40. Patients will save:
- Up to $1.88 for Frusemide, for fluid retention.
- Up to $2.69 for Prazosin, for high blood pressure.
- Up to $6.32 for Venlafaxine, for depression.
- Abatacept (Orencia®), a subcutaneous (injection) form of the treatment for adult rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling of the joints. This means that 450 patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis will no longer need to visit a clinic to receive the medication intravenously as they will now be able to self-administer as an injection.
- Dasatinib (Sprycel®) and Nilotinib (Tasigna®) to include treatment of newly diagnosed patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Over 300 patients per year will benefit from the extended listings of Dasatinib and Nilotinib. These patients would otherwise have to pay $30,000 a year to access these medicines.
- Epoprostenol sodium (Flolan®) to include the treatment of certain patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition characterised by high blood pressure in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. If untreated, it can lead to heart failure in a small but very sick group of patients; and
- Dalteparin sodium (Fragmin®) for use in haemodialysis, a process which removes waste products from the blood when the kidneys are in renal failure.
- Nevirapine (Viramune®), an extended release tablet which will improve compliance with treatment for patients with HIV.
- Rilpivirine (Edurant®), a new medicine which provides an alternative treatment option for patients with HIV.
For media inquiries, please contact Minister Plibersek’s office on 02 6277 7220
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