Taxpayer to fund pensioners’ medicine price increase 89



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Boom! Australian pensioners just won in a deal struck between the government and pharmacies that will hit many Australians with an increase to many drugs sold at pharmacies will rise on July 1. Price rises will be felt by everyday Australians on any medicine that currently costs consumers less that $36, across the board. According to media reports, the price rises of up to $3.46 will affect nine of the ten most prescribed medicines in Australia: anti-cholesterol pills atorvastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin, blood pressure medicines perindopril and irbesartan and diabetes medicines metformin.

It is all because the Government has agreed a new way of charging a pharmacy handling fee which used to be a flat 15 per cent of prescription prices, but will now adjust to $3.49 per item. Interestingly, the price rise, which could be a couple of dollars an item, will hurt peoples’ hip pockets now, but further changes to the pharmaceutical industry will see the price of some of these majors fall next year by a lot more than the amount it will rise this year. It is all a part of the renegotiated five year agreement with pharmacists that Health Minister Sussan Ley announced in some form last week, however the press releases failed to detail these changes that are now being uncovered.

Are you a pensioner and feeling some delight at the price subsidy by taxpayers? Or are you a self-funded retiree or taxpayer who will take a hit on this and how do you feel about it? Is it short term pain for long term gain and are you happy to sacrifice a few dollars now for the drops in prices that are coming your way next year when many common drugs become? News Limited reports that concessional patients will not be hit with the rise, however everyday patients could be affected by up to $18 per month.

Tell us, is this going to affect you?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Thank heavens I don’t need any of those drugs but I feel for pensioners who do, they are all struggling now and all these drugs look necessary to me to keep people alive.. they are killing us slowly

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  2. Fabulous, our meds currently cost over $50 a week. Can’t wait to see how much extra they’ll cost now

  3. I am 64 this month and a self funded retiree, I require all these prescriptive drugs and in 12 months I will be eligible for a hcc so these increases are a negative for me. I already spend $120+ each month. I think this sucks.

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  4. If there wasn’t so much pollution in the suburb I live in I would be medicine free.. asthma. Sinuses. Pensioners get extra allowance to pay for meds in their pensions. Unfortunately many oldies r suffering now fr t lifestyle they led when younger.

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    • A lifestyle that was led by lies about what was good or not good for you. Only now we are waking up and finding that real butter and full cream milk with no additives is better for us. The same goes for vacinations and medicine too. We ALL NEED TO GET EDUCATED on what is REALLY GOING ON here. Pharmaceutical Companies and Monsanto have it over many people but not me anymore. My knowledge now means i no longer take any form on drugs and eat real food according to God’s principles. Read Leviticus chapter 11 gor the answers.

  5. Not good news for self funded retirees paying full costs. Between us my husband and I use almost all of those drugs but if there will ultimately be a price decrease I guess we can take the temporary pain. One of our troubles is we are in a country region with one pharmacy company owning all local pharmacies and with the current rules around locations no competition can open. Prices on a lot of medication is higher than if we buy in Adelaide.

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  6. Although there is plenty of room for a future price drop, how often does it happen? If the gov’t was serious about the pharmaceutical ripoff, then I’m sure it could have done something long ago.
    Have just returned from Europe (bucket list) where my migraine tablets were $3 -here $12 each!

  7. It’s a wise move. Costs are going to always rise.Tis the nature of a free economy. Let those who can least afford to pay get assistance and those who can pay for ourselves, do that. Perhaps it will encourage more of us to put more energy into lifestyle and diet changes, using healing foods etc rather than turning to a pill. Not always possible I understand but the main ones for cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes heart issues are most commonly related to diet. If we learn how to better manage our bodies then its a win win situation.

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    • that is rubbish, my 50 year old niece has type 1 diabetes, she lives in the USA and runs in The Boston Marathon and all the other big running events in the USA, I doubt there would be many who are as careful of their diet and their lifestyle as her..she has an internal pump fitted, many of those disease requiring that medication are herditiary

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      • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is very different in cause to type 2 which can be mostly life style….too much body fat and not enough exercise. I am type 1 myself and get fed up with the confusion.

    • Thank you Janet. Please refer to my comment “not always possible I understand” I mean just that. For some folks (and type 1 diabetes is in that category) it is not lifestyle induced.If you were born with a hole in your heart or developed MS or some forms of cancer, you would of course need every medication available. For something like type 2 diabetes, it most often is lifestyle related. If your illness is as a result of smoking or drinking, it’s lifestyle related. So what I am saying is not rubbish, but I appreciate your input.

  8. So how do we afford to buy our medications until then. The government can not be trusted to keep to this arrangement. As for the pharmaceutical industry, they will find another way to keep the extra money.

  9. So in the near future tax payers will be supporting dole bludgers who turn pensioners and have never worked a day in their life and have ailments caused by poor lifestyle, drugs, smoking and alcohol abuse? For those pensioners who have contributed to society I hope this gives you some financial relief.

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    • That’s a very cynical take there Harry. Not all of us are dole bludgers who have never worked a day in our lives. Your post reeks of negativity and anger. I suggest you take a deep breath and join the real world!

    • I am sick of people who use the term “dole bludgers” Start listening to the news and get into the real world and you will realise theat most of the people at the moment who are on DOLE payments do not want to be in this position.In reality it is those few that work the system that make it hard for everyone else and given them a bad name.

    • I gave the good people an out:
      – ‘near future’ meaning superannuation only became compulsory early 1980’s and if you were the stay at home wife/mother then stand proud
      -‘bludger’ if you contribute to society you don’t fit this title

    • Harry Ebsworth.. I am on the aged pension and worked 10-12 hours a day, I have never been a bludger. My 90 year old Mum served in the Land Womens Army and did dressmaking for 40 years and she is not a bludger. We are deeply offended by your comments. Not every one received big pay for their work and were unable to save enough to retire on. Also neither of us drank alcohol or smoked or gambled.

    • Cathy Garvie – if you read it correctly you would realise you are exempt from my comments so don’t be offended!!!

  10. We are so grateful that we are on the pension. My husband totalled up all his meds last week, & would be paying over $2000.00 per month. At least he is still with us.

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    • And Mr Big Pharmaceutical Company is getting richer by the minute at the expense of Doctors handing out drugs like lollies and Government paying these Pharma Companies with money better utilized else where. I am a pensioner but i know the truth if what is Really going on…

  11. The most vulnerable one’s being hood winked by Dr to take medication from Mr Big Pharmaceutical Companies so they can get big money from the Government. When is the Government going to wake up to this facade and stop Dr handing out unecessary drugs to these people, paying Mr Big and start saving this money and use it where it is most needed. Into the pockets of the genuinely poor or fix the roads, Electricity, water supply or some other genuine project to sustain society as a whole. I am a disability Pensioner and refuse to buy into handing out drugs like lollies and the expense of the rich.

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