Our top 10 drugs


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Once again, drugs used to treat Hepatitis C have topped the list of drugs ranked by cost to the Government

Of the remaining top ten most expensive drugs for 2018/9, many are biologicals, reports NPS MedicineWise in Australian Prescriber.

Cholesterol lowering drugs and blood pressure drugs made up eight of the top 10 most commonly used prescription drugs in Australia in 2018-19, but when it comes to cost to taxpayers, none of the most frequently used drugs are in the most expensive list.

The top 10 PBS/RPBS drugs by cost to the Government – not including rebates – for 2018/9 were:

  1. sofosbuvir + velpatasvir, costing a total of $391,007,833;
  2. aflibercept, costing $358,636,721;
  3. adalimumab, costing $317,436,175;
  4. nivolumab, costing $267,738,344;
  5. pembrolizuma, costing $220,469,394;
  6. denosumab, costing $218,970,118;
  7. ranibizumab, costing $207,163,441;
  8. ustekinumab, costing $178,790,589;
  9. glecaprevir + pibrentasvir, costing $173,610,672; and
  10. apixaban, at a cost of $170,049,351.

The top 10 PBS/RPBS drugs by prescription count were:

  1. rosuvastatin (12,026,655);
  2. atorvastatin (10,967,105);
  3. esomeprazole (9,278,125);
  4. pantoprazole (7,375,606);
  5. perindopril (6,551,571);
  6. cephalexin (5,643,287);
  7. amoxicillin (5,254,811);
  8. metformin (5,017,700);
  9. amoxicillin + clavulanic acid (4,706,645); and
  10. escitalopram (4,533,725).

Australian Prescriber also lists the top 10 drugs for 2018/9 by defined daily dose/1000 population/day:

  1. atorvastatin 71.35;
  2. rosuvastatin 57.44;
  3. perindopril 51.67;
  4. amlodipine 47.95;
  5. candesartan 32.90;
  6. irbesartan 31.48;
  7. telmisartan31.26;
  8. esomeprazole 27.62;
  9. ramipril 26.97; and
  10. metformin 25.14.

The lists of most commonly used and most expensive drugs are produced annually and are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions.

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