PBS price disclosure cuts to hit this weekend

More than 1100 medicine brands are lined up for price reductions of up to 30% beginning this weekend

From 1 April, commonly prescribed medicines including rosuvastatin, diclofenac, fentanyl transdermal patches, omeprazole and more are set to drop in price – with some experiencing reductions of 25-30%.

The Minister for Health Greg Hunt says the cuts will allow “millions of Australians suffering from a range of health conditions” to save a considerable amount of money.

“Going to pharmacy is set to be cheaper from next month,” says Minister Hunt in an official announcement.

“For the many Australians who take multiple medications daily, the savings will be considerable.

“These reductions are expected to save Australian families $135 million over the next four years and will also deliver estimated savings to taxpayers of $455 million,” he says.

The government has also added several new drugs to the PBS, including new treatments for Hodgkin Lymphoma and skin cancer, as well as treatments for psoriasis, arthritis, schizophrenia, and iron deficiency.

While the government has a positive outlook on the price cuts, pharmacists are not so keen.

The response to the latest round of price disclosure cuts from one AJP reader was merely: “Yikes”.

In a recent AJP poll, 42% of pharmacist participants reported that price disclosure has “hurt [their] pharmacy a lot” since its introduction in 2007.

And a further 35% report feeling “seriously worried about losing my business/job as a result” of price disclosure.

Another 7% say they have lost a business/job as a result of the program.


Among the medicines affected by April PBS price disclosure cuts are:

  • Candesartan – with reductions of 28-29%, up to 36% for some formulations of Candesartan with hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Desvenlafaxine – oral tablets, with a reduction of over 28%
  • Diclofenac – reductions of 11.98% for tablet (enteric coated) containing diclofenac sodium 50 mg, and 12.18% for tablets containing diclofenac sodium 25mg.
  • Fentanyl transdermal patches – a range of products all with reductions of around 11.9%
  • Lamotrigine (tablets of 25 to 200mg) – reduced by 18.8%
  • Mometasone – cream, lotion and ointment – down by 20%
  • Olanzapine – in a wide range of tablet and wafer formulations, to drop by between 12.7 and 12.85%
  • Omeprazole – 20mg capsules and 10 and 20mg tablets, to reduce by around 13%
  • Pramipexole – down by 29%
  • Rosuvastatin – 5,10,20 and 40 mg tablets, to drop by more than 35%
  • Telmisartan with hydrochlorothiazide –   Tablet 40 mg-12.5 mg and 80 mg-25 mg will drop by more than 42%, and tablet 80 mg-12.5 mg by 38.84%
  • Zoledronic acid – down by 24.97%

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  1. Toby

    It’s quite clear the government places no professional value on pharmacy. Pharmacy is seen as a permanent savings target, to compensate for government waste on welfare, on doctors, on pollies who use Gold Coast conferences as an excuse to fund private trips – and then preach ‘sacrifice’ at pharmacists. Only a super-aggressive stance by all the pharmacy bodies will save the profession now. What will not work, is feel-good generalities about the value the government places on pharmacy, or the progress pharmacy is making clinically – but can’t prescribe Panadeine. It’s all been said, by those people who do not have their heads up their collective rear ends. The difference is, it’s twenty minutes to midnight now.

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