10 changes to the PBS

28 May 2015

Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced the much anticipated details to its proposed PBS reforms. We’ve put together a summary of the key measures in the reforms that are expected to happen over the next five years.

Key measures within the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Access and Sustainability Package:

1. Changes to price disclosure arrangements applied to medicines subject to competition. This could reduce the price of generic medicines for consumers as much as 50 per cent and will be achieved by removing the ‘originator’ brand version of the drug from pricing calculations. 

2. The ability for pharmacists to offer consumers a discount of up to $1 per script on the price on the PBS co-payment.

3. A $20 million awareness campaign to support the increased use of ‘biosimilar medicines’ by patients, pharmacists and specialists.  The increasing use of biosimilar medicines is also expected to deliver efficiencies of $880 million over five years.

4. A doubling of investment in pharmacy-run primary care programmes of up to $1.26 billion. 

5. Better targeting the premium-free dispensing incentive to apply only when there is a premium charged for another brand of the same medicine.

6. $1.5 billion investment in a new handling and infrastructure fee for pharmacists.

7. Closing loopholes around the way combination drugs are subsidised under price disclosure reductions.

8. An independent review of pharmacy remuneration and location rules.  

9. The removal of some over-the-counter medicines from the PBS, such as paracetamol. Decisions on which over-the-counter medicines will be based on advice from the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

10. Extending the existing safety net 20 day rule to a broader range of PBS medicines.


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