MORE than 28,000 patients with chronic health conditions in Blair are now able to get two months’ worth of medicines for the price of one, saving them more than $1 million, thanks to the federal government’s cheaper medicines policy.
Since 1 September this year, anyone taking medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that are available for 60-day prescriptions will save up to $180 per year, per medicine. Concession card holders will save $43 per medicine.
Patients are benefiting from the freeing up of millions of much-needed GP visiting slots, so doctors will have more time to spend on diagnosing and treating conditions, instead of simply issuing routine, repeat scripts.
60-day prescriptions mean less time on the roads for locals living in rural and regional areas, such as the rural parts of Ipswich, the Somerset Region, and surrounding areas, who have had to make long trips to purchase the medications they have been on for years.
Australians have already saved $200 million on almost 18 million cheaper prescriptions since the start of the year (January – October 2023), after the Federal Government cut the maximum cost of a script on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from $42.50 to $30.
This includes $39 million saved on 3.5 million cheaper scripts in Queensland.
Since January, patients in Blair have saved around $1.2 million ($1,174,400) on more than 93,952 prescriptions.
60-day prescriptions were first recommended in 2018 by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, but the former government did not accept the expert advice, costing Australians hundreds of millions in fees.
A full list of medicines available in the first tranche of 60-day prescribing is available here: health.gov.au/our-work/60-day-dispensing/pbs-medicines-current-item-codes
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said cheaper medicines were not just good for the hip pocket, but also good for the health of local patients.
“Overseas evidence tells us that medicine compliance increases by 20 per cent with longer prescriptions.
“That is why every major patient group and doctors’ group, including the Consumers Health Forum, the Australian Medical Association, the College of General Practitioners and the Rural Doctors Association, have all advocated strongly for 60-day prescriptions.
“Cheaper medicines through 60-day prescriptions will be life-changing for so many patients living in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs in my electorate, and surrounding areas.
“This will halve medicine costs for people living with chronic health conditions, including heart conditions, Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and high blood pressure, and provide important cost of living relief.
“I appreciate these changes will impact some individual pharmacies and I have met with local pharmacists to hear their concerns about the changes.
“However, every dollar the government saves with this measure will be reinvested into pharmacy, because we know pharmacies play a vital role in local communities and we support a sustainable community pharmacy sector.
“We’re also providing more support for regional, rural and remote pharmacies to transition to 60-day prescriptions as they start to provide a broader mix of services and play an even more central role in the healthcare of Australians.
“Our cheaper medicines policy are delivering real savings for thousands of locals and ensuring fewer people are forced to go without medicines because of the cost.”