On the 1st of January 2022, the cost of medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical
Benefits Scheme (PBS) increased again. This is due to the rise in the maximum
co-payment, meaning many commonly used drugs now cost $42.50 per prescription under
the PBS for the 19 million patients without a concession card, a cost that has
doubled since 20001.
Almost everyone pays something towards the cost of medicines, and co-payments are the difference between the full price of a medicine and the amount the government pays. The PBS aims to provide all Australians with affordable and safe medication, but unfortunately, rising costs are negatively impacting the health and wallets of millions of people.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports more than 900,000 Australians delayed or didn’t have prescriptions filled in 2019-20 due to the cost2. The rising cost of living3 and prescription medicines have caused many Australians to be unable to afford life-saving medication for diabetes, asthma, heart failure, or anaphylaxis.
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Healthcare affordability is becoming a significant pain point for household budgets.
1 in 5 Australians describes prescription medicines as unaffordable4.
retirees and low-income earners are particularly struggling with the rising cost of
living, while research has found this issue disproportionately impacts women.
Over the past few years, the cost of living in Australia and throughout the world has steadily increased. Australians are being warned they will be forced to fork out more for everyday items as the cost of living reaches new heights. Oil prices, petrol prices, groceries, and flights to different states or countries are all on the rise, hurting the Australian hip pocket more than they did before the pandemic began. At the current rate, patients without a concession card could be paying almost $50 per prescription for medicines they need to stay healthy by the end of this decade5.