About cheaper medicines
Many patients can now receive twice the medication for the cost of a single prescription. From September 2024 this will apply to more than 300 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
To qualify, patients must:
- live with an ongoing health condition
- be assessed by their prescriber to be stable on their current medication
- have discussed their medication with their prescriber
- have received a new 60-day prescription.
The price changes are happening in 3 stages over 12 months and will be complete by 1 September 2024.
These changes follow advice from the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). PBAC recommended that it was clinically safe and suitable to allow 60-day prescriptions for eligible patients.
Prescribers can use their professional clinical judgement to decide to give 30 or 60-day prescriptions.
Ongoing health conditions
The PBS medicines recommended by PBAC as suitable for dispensing in increased quantities includes medicines for ongoing health conditions, such as:
- breast cancer
- cardiovascular disease
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- chronic renal failure
- Crohn’s disease
- endometrial cancer
- glaucoma and dry eyes
- heart failure
- high cholesterol
- hormonal replacement and modulation therapy
- Parkinson’s disease
- ulcerative colitis.
The move to 60-day prescriptions won’t cause medicine shortages as patients will still buy the same amount of medicine each year. While eligible patients can buy double the medication on a single prescription, this will last them for a longer period so demand for medicines will stay the same.
Most of the medicines PBAC recommended for 60-day prescriptions have no shortage of supply in Australia. We are monitoring the 60-day dispensing medicine list and made sure that medicines in stage one were not in shortage or at risk of shortage.
Medicine shortages can occur for different reasons, including:
- shortages of raw material
- transport issues
- factory quality control issues
- temporary factory closures
- natural disasters.
Most shortages are short-term, temporary disruptions and often only limit some brands, strengths or formulations.
Introducing 60-day prescriptions in 3 stages over 12 months reduces pharmacy disruption and lets supply chains adapt, as eligible patients will use existing prescriptions first.
Helping to ensure good medicine supply
Pharmaceutical companies must tell the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of expected medicine shortages. This means any medicine supply not likely to meet normal or expected consumer demand at any point during the next 6 months.
We have made changes to the Medicines Supply Security Guarantee. From 1 July 2023, medicine manufacturers must have more stock onshore for chosen brands. This will help make sure they are ready for pharmacy delivery to meet any temporary increase in demand.
Wholesalers must deliver to any pharmacy in 24 hours (excluding weekends or public holidays) if they are running low on medicine. This applies for most medicines.