The co-payment of $1 discount is being offered by Discount Drug Stores (DDS), as it claims it will enable the group to offer better priced OTC meds and offset the PBS impact of revenue cuts.
The group says it will pass on the full $1 co-payment discount on ‘eligible’ scripts following PBS changes that came in on 1 January.
DDS also says it will be offering patients free healthcare plans to help improve health outcomes.
DDS’ executive director Dough Kuskopf-Dallas says the brand wants to benefit consumers and help them consider their own circumstances as the discounts could disadvantage some people.
“Concessional customers who take up the offer may take longer to reach their safety net threshold, which could delay their access to free medicine and may affect their compliance to their medication as prescribed by their doctor,” says Kuskopf-Dallas.
The group concedes the new scheme will mean some patients will need 11 extra scripts a year to reach the safety net.
“This means both a longer wait until they can receive free medications, and the length of time they are eligible for free medicines will be reduced, since the safety net re-sets each year,” says pharmacist and national pharmaceutical manager, Stephenie Shea.
“That’s why Discount Drug Stores is taking a more tailored approach and encouraging customers to speak with their pharmacist to discuss their options,” says Kuskopf-Dallas.
“It’s about empowering our customers so they can make informed decisions about what’s best for their situation.”
Meanwhile, she also warns that there may be other negative results of the PBS changes on pensioners.
“A range of items, including popular paracetamol products such as Panadol Osteo and Panamax, have been removed from the PBS as of 1 January.
“This means pensioners who’ve come to rely on set prices for medications such as Panadol Osteo will be paying a higher price in some pharmacies and, on top of this, it won’t count toward their safety net anymore.”
Kuskopf-Dallas says DDS has priced its OTC “better than ever to offset the impact and are promoting their price match guarantee”.
“In many cases we were already charging less than the PBS price because of our competitive pricing policy
“Through our competitive pricing and by passing on the full $1 discount, Discount Drug Stores will be able to alleviate costs for the most vulnerable in the community.”