PBS listings need review: Guild

An urgent review is needed of the de-listing of some medicines which were available on the PBS and now will cost more OTC, says the Guild.The Guild has written to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) addressing its concerns.

As part of the 6CPA ,the Guild agreed to the de-listing of selected OTC products from the PBS on the clinical recommendation of the PBAC. It claims the agreement was part of the Government’s commitment that the de-listed medicines would be available OTC at prices comparable to what Concessional Card patients pay under the PBS.

The Guild now says this is not the case with Panadol Osteo, which is a recommended first-line therapy for  pain management of osteoarthritis.

In a media statement, it says if subsidised by the PBS, the drug (paracetamol 66mg modified release) costs a Concessional Card holder since December 2015 a $7.50 for the maximum quantity of 192 tablets (two packs of 96).The patient co-payment counts towards their Safety Net threshold.It then says its own analysis of current pharmacy prices shows that customers now pay between $11.90 and $15.00 for two packs of 96 Panadol Osteo OTC.

In addition, GlaxoSmithKline Australia has announced that as a result of the PBS de-listing, it is increasing its price from $4.28 to $6.31 for a pack of 96 Panadol Osteo. As a result, the wholesale price for a pack of 96 Panadol Oste has risen from $4.45 to $6.65.. The Guild says  patients are likely to have to pay more than $15 to purchase 2 packs of 96 Panadol Osteo now compared to $7.50 for a Concessional Patient under the PBS. It adds the out-of-pocket costs also do not count towards the patient’s Safety Net.

The Guild says it is worried that people with chronic diseases such as oesteoarthriis will find it had to obtain the medicines they need because of PBS de-listing.

The Guild says if it is confirmed by PBAC that these products are not generally available at prices below the price paid by Concessional Card holders under the PBS, the decision to de-list should be reviewed in consultation with relevant consumer groups such as Pain Australia and Arthritis Australia.

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