Here’s how to save on prescriptions from 1 September

Article published 14 August 2023

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Here's how to save on prescriptions from 1 September

Pharmacists are screaming blue murder but it's about time they were stopped whacking patients with unnecessary personal contributions.

IT has been hard to miss the stoush between the powerful Pharmacy Guild and the federal government over about 300 PBS-listed medicines. Changes mean that many will save on prescriptions.

From 1 September, patients will be able to buy a two-months’ supply of prescription medicines rather than the one-month supply available now. This will be subject to conditions and will only apply to scripts issued after the rule change goes into effect.

Savings to patients

The benefit to patients is obvious. The patient co-payment of $30 ($7.30 for concession card holders) will cover two lots of medicines rather than one from 1 September.

Effectively, this halves the co-payment for these medicines. General patients will be able to save up to $180 a year per medicine if prescribed for 60 days, and concession card holders up to $43.80 a year per medicine.

Which medicines become cheaper?

Note that this new rule does not apply to all PBS-listed medicines and not to all patients.

Patients are eligible if they need medicines for stable, chronic health conditions. Find a list of affected medications here.

The rule does not cover the same medicines if they are prescribed for non-stable, non-chronic conditions, which need to be regularly assessed by a GP.

Government investment in pharmacies

The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners support the new rule.

Pharmacists are not that happy, and their representative body, the Pharmacy Guild, is predicting that many of its members will go to the wall.

The federal Health Minister disputes this and points out that it is investing in pharmacy programs.

Pharmacies will be the beneficiaries of a $1.3 billion program to improve access to medicines, for example.

Pharmacies also stand to receive $114 million to administer eligible National Immunisation Program vaccines. Think COVID and influenza and remember how hard it is to get a GP appointment.

Then there is $79.5 million to double the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance to ensure the ongoing viability of pharmacies due to reduced dispensing income from the new two-month rule.

Claims by the Pharmacy Guild that pharmacies will lose out to an extent under the new two-month rule may be true.

However, why should patients unnecessarily have to fork out two lots of PBS co-payments just to line the pockets of pharmacies?

Remember, the new rule does not apply to every prescription drug, only 300 in certain circumstances. The Pharmacy Guild is engaging in a campaign to benefit its members, not the customers of its members.


Read about how pharmacies protect themselves from price competition in these two past CPSA News articles:

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