3.2 million cheaper medicines in 2023

Australians are being encouraged to fill their prescriptions for medicines, especially as the maximum out of pocket cost for most medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is now $12.50 lower.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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Australians are being encouraged to fill their prescriptions for medicines, especially as the maximum out of pocket cost for most medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is now $12.50 lower.


Australians have saved more than $36 million on PBS medicines in January and February.


Since the Albanese Government reduced the co-payment on 1 January, more than 3.2 million scripts have been cheaper, with 4 out of 5 of those cheaper scripts receiving the full $12.50 discount.


If the savings for the first two months are repeated across the course of 2023, the total savings flowing back into the pockets of Australians with a Medicare card will amount to $218 million, which is more than the $200 million in annual savings that the government had been forecasting before the price reduction came into effect.


This shows that the Government’s cheaper medicines policy is helping to make medicines more affordable and accessible, and take the sting out of the rising cost of living.


Someone taking one medication a month could save as much as $150 every year, or a family taking two or three medications could save as much as $300-$450 a year.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that more than three quarters of a million people put off buying medication because of the cost in the 2021-22 financial year.


The ABS data shows that those who delay buying needed medicines are more likely to be younger, female, live in poorer and disadvantaged areas and live with a long-term health condition.


To reduce the number of people putting off buying medicines because of cost, today the Government will launch a new communications campaign promoting awareness of the reduced co-payment, encouraging Australians to speak with their local pharmacist about their medication and how they can save.


Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:


“The Albanese Government’s cheaper medicines policy is changing lives and improving household budgets.”


“Over 3.2 million prescriptions were cheaper in the first two months of this year and thanks to our policy, patients have saved more than $36 million.”


“Cheaper medicine is not just putting money back into patients’ pockets, it's also good for Australia's health.”


Quotes attributable to Jane Mitchell, Pharmacist:


“We know that cost is a major factor in people delaying or deciding not buy prescribed medicines.”


“Since the general co-payment was reduced in January, we’ve seen many customers surprised at the lower cost of their PBS medicines and it makes a big difference.”


“It’s important that more people know about the potential savings and that the PBS Safety Net can mean further discounted prices if a person or a family needs to buy a lot of medicines.”


Quotes attributable to Rosa, 47 years old, ACT:


“My husband is undergoing a second round of cancer treatment. This time around the medicines needed during his cancer treatment has dropped to $30.”


“His treatment takes several months and this cost saving makes a real difference to our household budget.”


Quotes attributable to Megan, early-30s, ACT:


“As a chronic pain sufferer, it’s great to be able to get some savings on prescription medications.”


“Prescriptions for managing chronic pain often need to be filled more than once a month, which can really add up, especially if you also need to see a doctor every time you need a repeat script. Having the discount takes the weight off my shoulders as I know I’ll be able to manage my health a little easier.”


“I spend around $200-$300 per month on medication. Most of my medication falls under the PBS and while it is early days, I can definitely see the reduced co-payment having a positive effect on my budget.”


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