Australians save $250 million thanks to Albanese Government cheaper medicines

Australians have saved $250 million on cheaper medicines in 2023 thanks to the Albanese Government.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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Australians have saved $250 million on cheaper medicines in 2023 thanks to the Albanese Government.
Changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the introduction of 60-day prescriptions are working to reduce everyday costs for Australians.
On 1 January 2023, for the first time in the 75-year history of the PBS, the Albanese Government lowered the maximum cost of prescription medications listed on the PBS saving Australians more than $240 million in 2023.
Since September 2023, 60-day prescriptions have made selected PBS medicines cheaper for Australians with a range of ongoing stable health conditions, already saving patients over $7.2 million.
Almost 2 million 60-day scripts were dispensed between September and December 2023, and with the number of medications available as 60-day scripts set to rise to 300 by September this year the savings will continue to grow.
The Albanese Government also reduced the PBS Safety Net Threshold, so more pensioners and concession cardholders get free medicines, sooner.
This has reduced the yearly medicine costs for those 2 million Australians by as much as 25 per cent.
From 1 February 2024, Australians with advanced melanoma will have access to the combination medicine nivolumab with relatlimab (Opdualag®).
Opdualag will be listed for the first time to treat patients with advanced stage melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed by surgery.
Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world with one person dying from melanoma every six hours.
Around 940 patients each year are expected to benefit from this listing. Without the PBS subsidy, they could pay around $315,000 per course of treatment.
At the same time, the Government is supporting local pharmacies to continue their crucial role in the healthcare system, especially in regional, rural and remote parts of the country.
Through the Regional Pharmacy Transition Allowance and the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance, the government provided $26 million to eligible pharmacies between 1 July and 31 December 2023.
Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: 
“We know Australians have been doing it tough, which is why we are providing cost of living relief without adding to inflation.
“Our cheaper medicines policy means over the past year Australians have saved $250 million on prescriptions – this is real cost of living relief, putting money back into people’s wallets.
“Combined with our tripling of the Medicare bulk billing incentive and opening of 58 Urgent Care Clinics across the country, we’re making it easier and cheaper for Australians to see a doctor.”
Quotes attributable to Minister Mark Butler:
“Cheaper medicines have helped Australians save over $250 million on medicines in 2023, with more savings to come in 2024.
“With cheaper medicines we are supporting millions of Australians with chronic, ongoing conditions so they don’t have to choose between health care and paying the bills.  
“The listing of Opdualag will be life changing for Australians living with advanced stage melanoma. Instead of paying over $315,000 for treatment now the maximum they will pay is PBS prices.
“The Albanese Government is continuing to make medicines cheaper so that all Australians can access the medication they need regardless of their bank balance.”


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