Cheaper medicines with twice as many medicines now available for a 60-day prescription

The Albanese Government is making medicines cheaper by doubling the number of medicines now available for a 60-day prescription, with an additional 94 medicines for stable, ongoing health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, breast cancer and menopause now eligible.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Albanese Government is making medicines cheaper by doubling the number of medicines now available for a 60-day prescription, with an additional 94 medicines for stable, ongoing health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, breast cancer and menopause now eligible.
Australians have already saved over $11.7 million on almost 3 million 60-day scripts between September 2023 and January 2024.
Australians without a concession card will save up to $189 per medicine, per year. Pensioners and concession cardholders will save up to $46.20 per medicine, per year.
From today, 184 medicines are now available for a 60-day script, with the full list of medicines at:
A further 100 medicines will become eligible on 1 September 2024, saving money and time for 6 million Australians living with a stable ongoing health condition.
Australians are benefitting from the Albanese Government’s cheaper medicines in a number of ways, including:

  • a reduction in the PBS Safety Net threshold which slashed the yearly cost of medicines by up to 25% for close to 2 million Australians,
  • the largest cut to the maximum cost of a script in the 75-year history of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

In total, Australians have saved more than $280 million on their medicine costs since January 2023 thanks to the Albanese Government’s commitment to cheaper medicines.
Every dollar the Government saved from 60-day prescriptions has been returned to pharmacies, with new programs and payments to provide more services to Australians.
These reinvestments include:

  • Expanding the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to pharmacies, so a pharmacist gets the same fee a doctor gets to administer a vaccine.
  • Increased support for rural and regional pharmacies through new and increased payments, which will deliver around $300,000-$400,000 to eligible pharmacies over the next four years.
  • PBS payments for dispensing opioid dependency medicines.

Together, these investments have already seen an extra $50 million flow into pharmacies, over and above business as usual.
The Government has received 87 applications to open new pharmacies since 60-day prescriptions were announced – 50% more than were received in the same period the year before.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Cheaper medicines have helped Australians save almost $280 million since January last year, with more savings to come in 2024.
“Another 100 medicines are now available for a 60-day script, saving time and money for millions of Australians with a stable ongoing health condition, so they don’t have to choose between their health and paying the bills.
“The Albanese Government is continuing to make medicines cheaper so that all Australians can access the medication they need."
Quotes attributable to Jodi Steel, breast cancer survivor:
Jodi Steel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, has been using hormone-blocking therapies including tamoxifen and exemestane for seven years. She lives in coastal NSW, just south of Sydney. Jodi pays the concessional copayment of $7.70 for her PBS scripts.
“Sixty-day prescriptions essentially halves the cost of this treatment for me, which people like me with breast cancer need to take for a long period of time, to reduce the risk of our cancers recurring or progressing.
“Sixty-day scripts will also help in other ways, such as reducing the number of GP visits we require, and saving time spent refilling prescriptions.”
Quotes attributable to Vicki Durston, Director of Policy, Advocacy & Support Services, Breast Cancer Network Australia: 
“Allowing these vital drugs to be prescribed for 60-days at a time could save thousands of consumers hundreds of dollars per year.
“It is especially important that we work to reduce the cost of hormone blocking therapies for breast cancer as some are required for ten years or more after active treatment finishes.
“Reducing the ongoing cost of these drugs will start to address financial toxicity and improve equity, especially for those in lower socioeconomic groups who already experience disparities in access to breast cancer care.”
Attributable to Diabetes Australia Acting Group CEO, Taryn Black:
“Diabetes is a complex condition, and living with it can be a significant burden. Expanding 60-day prescriptions lightens the load for people living with diabetes and their families. People living with diabetes could save up to $189 per medicine.
“Many people living with diabetes are taking two or three medicines to manage their condition, as well as additional medications to treat other issues such as blood pressure, heart disease, or mental health challenges.
“As the cost of these medicines pile up, we often hear from people about how hard it can be to pay for all of these prescriptions, particularly as they struggle with cost-of-living pressures.
“This change will save people time and money on their medicines, every time they fill a script.”
Attributable to Rick Parsons, living with type two diabetes:
Rick was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after he had two heart attacks when he was 39. He is 54 this year. He had a tachycardia episode in hospital two weeks ago and has a heart condition. Rick has already been benefitting from 60-day prescriptions with some other medicines that became eligible in September. He is on dapagliflozin (Forxiga) and metformin for his diabetes. Rick lives in Para Hills, north of Adelaide, he is married with children.
“I take medications every day, including Forxiga and Metformin, and have done so for 15 years. I might be on this medicine for the rest of my life.
“A 60-day script means half as many trips to the pharmacy and half as many trips to my GP, just to fill a script for my medicine. It will save me money and time, for as long as I take this medicine.
“When you’re living with type 2 diabetes, the right medicine is so important and even being able to save a few dollars a month on my script is a welcome change. The cost of living has been going up and every little bit helps.”


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