Australians soon to pay 50 per cent less for their medication 73



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There’s great news if you want to spend less on medication at the pharmacy and don’t mind buying the generic brand.

The Federal Government is expected to announce today that Australians will pay up to 50 per cent less for many common medicines under changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Fairfax Media reports the changes will save the budget around $3 billion over five years by encouraging consumers to choose cheaper, identical generic versions of ‘off-patent’ drugs and less expensive similar medications.

Health Minister Sussan Ley is expected to introduce legislation to enact the changes to Parliament today after striking five year-deals with the Pharmacy Guild and the Generic Medicines Industry Association. The changes would come into effect from October next year.

Under the agreement, the Government expects the retail price of the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin, which currently costs more than $35 a packet, to be cut to just over $18. Under the current arrangements, the retail price of the drug would have been reduced to just under $30.

The price of the anti-depressant venlafaxine would be about $5 a box cheaper as a result of the change, while a box of the heart disease drug clopidogrel would be about $3.60 cheaper.

To encourage greater use of generic drugs, an incentive paid to pharmacists will be retargeted, saving $570 million.

The Minister will also launch a $20 million campaign to educate doctors and patients about the benefits of ‘biosimilar’ drugs, substitute medicines which are not identical to other drugs but have been proven to be as effective and safe. The government expects greater use of biosimilars to save more than $880 million over five years.

Mark Crotty, the chairman of the Generic Medicines Industry Association told Fairfax Media greater use of generic and biosimilar medicines would save money which could be used to pay for newer medicines.

Consumers Health Forum chief executive Leanne Wells said the changes, which also include $1.2 billion for pharmacists to deliver new services to patients, represented “a big step forward”.


Sounds like we could have more money in our pockets under the new deal.  Are you happy to pay less for medication even if the trade-off is buying the generic brand?

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  1. Some generic medications are fine and do the same as the brand name but there are some that are a lot weaker and don’t do the same job.

    6 REPLY
    • I was told by my chemist that three generic suppliers from india were under investigation for not putting enough of the active ingredients into some of the generic pills because the stomach pills i am on just wer,nt working.

    • A chemist CANNOT alter the dose prescribed by a doctor. Usually the stuff is made either by the original manufacturer or under liciense from the copyright holder. Same stuff – different package. You see this sort of thing everyday in supermarkets.

    • My husband was not the only one to tell the specialist that this happened and we have since been back to see him and he said that he had it looked into and found that we were right and there was not enough of the right ingediant in the generic pills, they are now to be fixed.

    • I have also experienced problems with generic medicines from India. My doctor has said I am not to take them.

  2. Since most of us are on a Health Care Card of some sort, it won’t make any difference to our hip pocket? This has to be a cost saving measure for the Government, otherwise they wouldn’t be considering it!

    1 REPLY
    • You are correct Ally, I have a health care card and most items cost $6.10 therefore I dont get generic or “pharmacy” brand because there is no saving and run the risk of a dodgy laboratory in deep darkest India somewhere.
      Annoys me when the chemist says do I want pharmacy brand when there is no difference in price.
      I really wish we had the option in Australia for supermarkets to sell medicines

  3. Any discount is good. Sometimes the Dr will say dont get the generic brand. If its across the board it would be fair, but for those who have many expensive drugs they are depending on, I think they deserve priority.

  4. This is great for the rich. But the people who have HCC or pensioners have just had their medication costs increased by 50c per script. Look past the hype and see who loses out. The poor people lose out yet again.
    Typical LNP policy.

  5. My wife and I are spending over $120 a month on scripts and that includes some generic brands, I can’t imagine seeing a 50% drop, if we do I would like to know why we have been ripped off for so long.

    1 REPLY
  6. This is a great step forward. Commonly used drugs like Statins will drop significantly. Another example of LNP doing what Laba wouldn’t or couldn’t.

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