Historic victory for patients as government slashes price of PBS drugs

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Leading community pharmacy body, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, patient advocacy body the Australian Patients Association, Chronic Pain Australia and Muskuloskeletal Australia today welcomed the Government’s announcement that it would reduce the Maximum Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) co-payment of $42.50 to $32.50, a 24% savings for patients.

National Chairman of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Professor Trent Twomey, said it was a real win for patients.

“Community pharmacies see patients struggling to afford medication from prescription to prescription and paycheck to paycheque. As the cost of living rises, patients are increasingly forced to choose between putting food on the table or buying the medicine they and their families need.

“We don’t want to see Australians ending up in the ER, in hospital or with long-term damage to their health because they’ve been forced to delay or skip taking essential medicines because of the cost.

“This government has made history by becoming the first government to reduce the PBS co-payment for all Australians.

“The government doesn’t have many levers to directly reduce the cost of living for Australians, but it is under their control. The reduction will help Australians afford the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy.

“The Guild will continue to advocate for the maximum PBS co-payment to be regularly reviewed and lowered by the Government to relieve Australians’ hip bags and ensure that patients who are prescribed medication can actually afford it. to take.

The cost of drugs has become a key issue for voters, with 30% saying they struggle to afford drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS), a jump of 6 points since January this year, according to a report. study by independent polling firm Insightfully. The number of voters skipping medication altogether has also increased, with 17% of voters now saying they or their family were unable to purchase medication due to cost. This is a jump of 3 points since January, when the price of drugs on the PBS rose again.

Australian Patients Association CEO Stephen Mason said the issue of prescription drug affordability is an ongoing concern for many Australians.

“Our research found that nearly 36% of people think prescription drugs are too expensive and 20% of people say it’s beyond their usual budget.”

Chair of Chronic Pain Australia, Fiona Hodson advocates that all Australians living with chronic pain receive Triple A standards of care – Awareness, Accessibility and Affordability.

“Reducing co-payments will be good news for one in five Australians living with chronic pain. Medication affordability is a key issue for these patients as they manage their complex and chronic conditions.

Musculoskeletal Australia CEO Rob Anderson said consumers were struggling to afford drugs to manage their own health and feared their weekly budgets would become increasingly tight.

“A recent survey we conducted found that 62% of respondents had experienced financial hardship due to a musculoskeletal condition. 39% said the cost of medication was the source of this financial burden. We urge Canberra to take this issue seriously so that the many Australians living with musculoskeletal disease can access their lifesaving medicines. »

“Community pharmacists have formed a coalition of patients to advocate on this issue because the cost of PBS medicines is a pressing issue for millions of Australians,” Prof Twomey said.

“It shows that the government is focused on their needs. For many households, these drugs represent the cost of staying alive.

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