Medicines cost to drop by up to half

The cost of everyday medicines is set to drop by up to half from October 2016, Sussan Ley said in a statement regarding the 2016 Budget today.

“Access to vital life-saving medicines and medical devices will be fast tracked by up to two years as a result of bold reforms that will make Australia a more attractive place to invest and innovate,” she says.

“This will break down barriers that see Australians currently waiting up to 15 months longer than patients in the US and Europe to access medical breakthroughs, as well as cutting years off waiting times to access treatments for rare conditions.

“The reform package will cost $20.4 million, but is expected to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in returns for the nation’s economy through improved patient health outcomes, innovation and research.

“The Government will also provide an extra $63.8 million over five years for Australians to access affordable drugs to treat a range of conditions including breast and prostate cancer and melanoma.

“This builds on the passage of the Coalition’s pharmacy and medicine price reforms last year, which will continue to roll out in 2016–17 with the cost of everyday medicines for Australians expected to drop by as much as half from October 2016.

“Pharmacists will also receive significant ongoing support, including for primary care programs, through a five-year, $18.9 billion agreement.”

The PBS is expected to cost $10.1 billion in 2016–17, excluding revenue – an increase of 3.4% on 2015-16, and a 9.8% increase on 2013-14.

The Government will increase its overall investment in health, aged care and sport to $89.5 billion in 2016–17, an increase of 4.1% on 2015–16.

More highlights include:

  • Dental reform through a single national Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme which will see adult Commonwealth concession card holders, and all children, eligible.
  • $136.6 million for the My Aged Care website.
  • $21.3 million to facilitate the design, operation and evaluation of trials for the new Health Care Home model of chronic care, across seven sites around the country, for two years from July 1 2017.
  • Landmark mental health reforms to be established at nine demonstration sites in
    2016–17, as well as support for the first stages of a national mental health digital gateway.
  • $2.9 billion to 2020 for states and territories for hospitals.
  • Access to locally-manufactured medicinal cannabis in 2016-17, including commercial cultivation in coming months.
  • $3 million to further subsidise MRIs to detect certain breast cancers, and $2.2 million for the continued national registers for breast and cardiac devices.
  • An online tool to help tackle perinatal depression and $10.5 million to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
  • A $33.8 million investment to list new Medicare items for those at risk of diabetes-related eye diseases, subsidising tests every two years; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians will be eligible annually.
  • $4.5 million to combat blood borne viruses and STIs in the Torres Strait region.
  • A $9.4 million investment in battling antimicrobial resistance.
  • About $0.6 million to support patients who contracted hepatitis C in the 80s and 90s through blood transfusion, in addition to the existing commitment to listing breakthrough hepatitis C cures.
  • $102.3 million over five years to improve rural and remote aged care services by updating how providers are classified in terms of remoteness.
  • A $5.3 million boost for the Health Star Food Rating scheme.


More on the Budget:

Guild says tax cuts will benefit pharmacy

PHAA: Budget lacks understanding of preventive health

Budget opportunities for pharmacy

An exciting time to be an SME

Previous Budget 2016: Jobs and growth, and SME tax cuts
Next Budget lacks understanding of preventive health

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