Has there been a change in demand for antidepressant and anxiolytic medications since the introduction of Better Access?

  • Using Division level data, a significant change in trends for PBS–subsidised antidepressant supply was observed in the two years pre– and the three years post– the introduction of Better Access. The rate of persons using antidepressant medications appeared to decrease slightly in the two years before the introduction of Better Access, however it is acknowledged that this is likely to reflect some high uptake medications coming off patent during this period. The rate of persons using antidepressant medications increased significantly (1.0% per quarter, on average) in the three years after the introduction of Better Access. The rate of scripts supplied also increased significantly (1.5% per quarter, on average) post–Better Access.

  • In contrast, there was no significant change in trend for rates of PBS–subsidised anxiolytic supply pre– and post–Better Access, with rates stable in both periods.

To what extent has Better Access uptake impacted on demand for antidepressant and anxiolytic medications?

  • A positive association was found between Better Access uptake and medication use at a Division level in 2009. The rate of persons within a Division using PBS–subsidised antidepressant medications, and the rate of scripts supplied, increased as the percentage of persons using Better Access increased. Similarly, the rate of persons within a Division using PBS–subsidised anxiolytic medications, and the rate of scripts supplied, increased as the rate of persons using Better Access increased.