10 numbers to know on PBS scripts and spending

Did government spending go up? How many scripts did community pharmacies discount? Here are 10 key numbers

The Department of Health has released the latest data on PBS expenditure and prescriptions for the 2017-18 financial year.

PBS expenditure includes the following patient categories:

  • General – Non-Safety Net (Ordinary)
  • General – Safety Net
  • Concessional – Non-Safety Net (Ordinary)
  • Concessional – Safety Net
  • Doctor’s Bag.

Here are some of the most interesting numbers on the PBS:

1. Total PBS government expenditure decreased 3% – from $12,058 million in 2016-17 down to $11,690 million (excluding revenue) for the 2017-2018 financial year.

2. Total 2017-18 PBS subsidised prescription volumes increased by 0.8% – to a total of 204.1 million, compared to 202.4 million for the 2016-17 financial year.

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3. In 2017-18, PBS Government expenditure (Section 85 and Section 100) was $11,602.9 million (excluding rebates) which is 88.9% of the total cost of PBS prescriptions. The remainder was patient contributions that amounted to $1,455.5 million.

4. Average dispensed price (Patient payment plus Government benefit) per prescription of PBS subsidised medicines decreased to $64.04 in 2017-18, compared to $66.09 in 2016-17.

5. Top 5 PBS drugs by highest total prescription volume in 2017-18 were rosuvastatin (11,024,852 scripts); atorvastatin (10,601,264 scripts); esomeprazole (9,172,273 scripts); pantoprazole (6,892,698 scripts); and perindopril (6,319,736).

6. Top 5 PBS drugs by highest government cost in 2017-18 were: sofosbuvir/velpatasvir ($695,021,028); adalimumab ($320,374,082); aflibercept ($304,212,258); ledipasvir/sofosbuvir ($244,606,914); and nivolumab ($208,068,092).

pharmacy vector7. The number of community pharmacies across Australia sits at 5,723 as of 30 June 2018. There are only 11 dispensing doctors across the country.

8. Of PBS/RPBS prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacies in 2017-18, 28% (58,155,090) were discounted while 72% (150,924,505) were not discounted. The majority (96.9%) of discounts were at the $1 mark.

9. Price to pharmacists of PBS and RPBS
prescriptions expenses (ex-manufacturer price and wholesale mark-up) went down 4.3%, from $7,813,770,027 in 2016-17 to $7,479,463,909 in 2017-18. Meanwhile the Administration, Handling and Infrastructure (AHI) fee went up 10.4%, from $857,995,456 in 2016-17 to $947,411,407 in 2017-18. The Electronic Prescription Fee also increased by 29.8%.

10. Pharmacy remuneration as part of the 6CPA for 2017-18 was $2,598,494,464, with a further $182,019,950 provided to the Pharmacy Guild towards professional programs. Of this, $7,649,772 was provided to the Guild as administration fees.

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