In an attempt to ease cost of living pressures and make common medicines cheaper, the Australian Government has announced a new policy that will allow Australians to buy two months’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription.
From September 1, the Government states that general patients will be able to save up to $180 a year if their medicine is able to be prescribed for 60 days, concession card holders saving up to $43.80 a year per medicine.
Once fully implemented, the 60-day prescribing policy will provide doctors with the option to prescribe a two-month supply of more than 320 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to Australians with stable, ongoing conditions.
With the Government stating that at least six million Australians will halve their medicine costs and need fewer visits to the GP and pharmacist to get the medicine they use the most, saving patients more than $1.6 billion over the next four years, the changes to prescription policies should be welcome news for most.
However, pharmacists around Australia have expressed their concern over the wide-spread impact this small change can make.
“We have very real concerns around the impact of this policy on patient safety,” said National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Professor Trent Twomey.
“If the Federal Government puts this proposal in the Budget, I am very concerned for millions of Australian patients who need regular access to critical medicine.
“There are already some 400 medicines in short supply in Australia and around 70 more at risk of becoming short.
“Australians may not be able to access medicines equally, with one patient having double the amount and another missing out.”