CHEMISTS might be crying poor, but those who rely on regular medicines are cheering.
The reason is those living with an ongoing health condition are now able to get two months’ worth of medicines for the price of one, saving money and time.
Federal Blair MP, Shayne Neumann, said the new initiative would benefit more than 28,500 patients in his electorate alone.
“Everyone with a Medicare card taking one of these medicines will save up to $180 per year, per medicine. Concession card holders will save $43 per medicine,” he said.
“Patients will benefit from the freeing up of millions of much-needed GP visits, so doctors will have more time to diagnose and treat conditions, instead of simply issuing routine, repeat scripts.
“Getting 60-day prescriptions also 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.
“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 will deliver real savings for thousands of locals and ensure fewer people are forced to go without medicines because of the cost.”
Australians have already saved $138 million this year on more than 12 million cheaper prescriptions, after the Albanese Labor Government cut the maximum cost of a script on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from $42.50 to $30.
Since January, patients in Blair have saved around $816,350 on more than 65,000 prescriptions.
The 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.
Minister for Health Mark Butler said cheaper medicines were not just good for the hip pocket, they were also good for the health of Australians.
“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 Australian Medical Association and the Rural Doctors Association, have all advocated strongly for 60-day prescriptions.”