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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Boost to 60-day prescription medicines

The Federal Government has announced a doubling of the number of medicines available for a 60-day prescription – with an additional 94 medicines for stable, ongoing health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, breast cancer and menopause now eligible.

Australians without a concession card will save up to $189 per medicine, per year, said Federal health minister, Mark Butler. Pensioners and concession cardholders will save up to $46.20 per medicine, per year, he said.

“Cheaper medicines have helped Australians save almost $280 million since January last year, with more savings to come in 2024,” said Minister Butler.
 
“Another 100 medicines are now available for a 60-day script, saving time and money for millions of Australians with a stable ongoing health condition, so they don’t have to choose between their health and paying the bills.
 
“The Albanese Government is continuing to make medicines cheaper so that all Australians can access the medication they need.”

NSW resident, Jodi Steel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and has been using hormone-blocking therapies including tamoxifen and exemestane since that time. She pays the concessional copayment of $7.70 for her PBS scripts.
 
“Sixty-day prescriptions essentially halves the cost of this treatment for me, which people like me with breast cancer need to take for a long period of time, to reduce the risk of our cancers recurring or progressing,” says Jodi.
 
“Sixty-day scripts will also help in other ways, such as reducing the number of GP visits we require, and saving time spent refilling prescriptions.”

Director of Policy, Advocacy & Support Services, Breast Cancer Network Australia, Vicki Durston says allowing these vital drugs to be prescribed for 60-days at a time could save thousands of consumers hundreds of dollars per year.
 
“It is especially important that we work to reduce the cost of hormone blocking therapies for breast cancer as some are required for ten years or more after active treatment finishes,” she said.
 
“Reducing the ongoing cost of these drugs will start to address financial toxicity and improve equity, especially for those in lower socioeconomic groups who already experience disparities in access to breast cancer care.”

Diabetes Australia Acting Group CEO, Taryn Black says the new scheme will lighten the load for people living with diabetes and their families. People living with diabetes could save up to $189 per medicine, she says.
 
“Many people living with diabetes are taking two or three medicines to manage their condition, as well as additional medications to treat other issues such as blood pressure, heart disease, or mental health challenges.”
 
“As the cost of these medicines pile up, we often hear from people about how hard it can be to pay for all of these prescriptions, particularly as they struggle with cost-of-living pressures.
 
“This change will save people time and money on their medicines, every time they fill a script,” said Ms Black.

The full list of medicines is available at: www.health.gov.au/cheapermedicines. A further 100 medicines will become eligible on 1 September 2024.

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