THE new, lower cost of PBS medicines comes into effect on New Year’s Day, meaning the most patients will pay for a PBS listed medication is $30, down from $42.50.
This follows Parliament passing legislation late last year to lower the maximum co-payment cost of PBS medicines.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s National President, Professor Trent Twomey, says this will be a big help to some 19 million patients, especially those who have been struggling to afford their medicines.
“In 2019-20 we learnt that 900,000 Australian patients did not get a script filled because they could not afford it,” he said.
“As health professionals, this disturbed us immensely and led to our “Affordable Medicines Now” campaign which pressured both parties to commit to lowering the cost of PBS medicines in the lead up to the last election.
“It’s a credit to our politicians that they listened to those concerns and gave a bi-partisan commitment to lower the maximum co-payment for PBS listed medicines after the election.
“January 1 marks a significant date as it will be the first time in the history of the PBS that the general co-payment for medicines has come down and not gone up.”
Professor Twomey says the campaign to make medicines universally affordable is far from over.
“We are now pushing to lower the maximum co-payment of PBS medicines even further, to $19.
“Reducing the maximum co-payment to $19 will mean an additional 30% of PBS medicines are covered,” Professor Twomey said.
A national survey commissioned by the Pharmacy Guild in 2022 revealed the affordability of healthcare was the biggest hip pocket concern among polled voters.