Australians are being encouraged to fill their prescriptions for medicines, especially as the maximum out of pocket cost for most medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is now $12.50 lower.
Australians have saved more than $36 million on PBS medicines in January and February.
Since the Albanese Government reduced the co-payment on 1 January, more than 3.2 million scripts have been cheaper, with 4 out of 5 of those cheaper scripts receiving the full $12.50 discount.
If the savings for the first two months are repeated across the course of 2023, the total savings flowing back into the pockets of Australians with a Medicare card will amount to $218 million, which is more than the $200 million in annual savings that the government had been forecasting before the price reduction came into effect.
This shows that the Government’s cheaper medicines policy is helping to make medicines more affordable and accessible, and take the sting out of the rising cost of living.
Someone taking one medication a month could save as much as $150 every year, or a family taking two or three medications could save as much as $300-$450 a year.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that more than three quarters of a million people put off buying medication because of the cost in the 2021-22 financial year.
The ABS data shows that those who delay buying needed medicines are more likely to be younger, female, live in poorer and disadvantaged areas and live with a long-term health condition.
To reduce the number of people putting off buying medicines because of cost, today the Government will launch a new communications campaign promoting awareness of the reduced co-payment, encouraging Australians to speak with their local pharmacist about their medication and how they can save.
As at 5 March 2023.