The 10 most expensive drugs


New Hepatitis C medicines a costly solution at the top of the most expensive drugs list

Newly approved hepatitis C medicines have topped the latest list of the most costly medicines to the government

The latest released figures showing the top 10 subsidised drugs for the year July 2015 – June 2016, based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions, show that atorvastatin still tops the lists of prescription counts and defined daily dose per 1000 population.

However the hepatitis C combination ledipasvir/sofosbuvir tops the list of expensive drugs, costing the government more than $570 million for the year. Sofosbuvir on its own sits in second place, costing more than $372 million for the year.

The hepatitis C drugs topping the list is the biggest change from last year’s figures, says Australian Prescriber’s medical editor Dr John Dowden.

“These two new hepatitis C medicines—the combination ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, and sofosbuvir on its own—have come onto the market and rocketed into the number one position on the list of top drugs by cost to government,” he said.

“They were only approved in March 2016 and in the four months to June 2016 have cost the government almost $1 billion for 43,000 prescriptions.”

Other expensive medicines with lower number of prescriptions include adalimumab for arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, ranibizumab and aflibercept for macular degeneration, etanercept for autoimmune disease, and trastuzumab for breast cancer.

As in previous years, medicines for cholesterol and high blood pressure top the list by prescription count.

Top 10 drugs by prescription count

1 atorvastatin

7 630 309 prescriptions

2. esomeprazole

6 889 031

3. rosuvastatin

6 540 962

4. paracetamol

5 056 087

5. pantoprazole

4 747 823

6. perindopril

4 049 113

7. metformin

3 578 536

8. pregabalin

3 237 101

9. fluticasone and salmeterol

3 003 985

10. salbutamol

2 975 537

Top 10 drugs by cost to the government

  1. ledipasvir & sofosbuvir  $570 730 056  for 25,205 scripts
  2. sofosbuvir                     $372 094 623  for 18,738 scripts
  3. adalimumab                  $335 857 859  for 194,405 scripts
  4. ranibizumab                  $241 256 012  for 163,595 scripts
  5. aflibercept                     $231 194 036  for 155,404 scripts
  6. esomeprazole               $170 554 177  for 6,889,031 scripts
  7. etanercept                     $166 538 773  for 97,291 scripts
  8. trastuzumab                  $157 134 211  for 50,217 scripts
  9. fluticasone & salmeterol  $148 878 399  for 3,003,985 scripts
  10. insulin glargine              $146 202 125  for 367,253 scripts

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