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28 April 2023

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP welcomes changes which will allow some patients requiring routine medication to buy two months’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription.

The Labor Government has announced changes to pharmacy dispensing that will ease cost of living pressures and make hundreds of common medicines cheaper.

From September 1, patients with a Medicare card will save up to $180 a year if their medicine is eligible for 60-day prescribing and concession card holders will save up to $43.80 a year per medicine.

The first tranche will include 113 medicines including for conditions like heart disease, cholesterol, Crohn disease and hypertension.

Once implemented, the 60-day prescribing policy with provide doctors with the option to prescribe a two month supply of 325 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to Australians with stable, ongoing conditions. The current dispensing limit for these medications is for a one-month supply only. 

Introducing 60-day prescribing for stable, ongoing conditions was a recommendation of the clinical experts at the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in 2018. These changes were not implemented under the previous Government, costing Australians billions. 

These changes will bring Australia into line with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada where patients already have access to multiple month medications on a single prescription.

This expands on the Federal Government’s commitment to make medicines cheaper following the reduction of the PBS general co-payment on January 1. To date, this has saved people in the Bendigo electorate an estimated $311,263.

Quotes Attributable to Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters:

“Our Government is committed to fixing the health care crisis and making it easier for people to get the medicine they need and rely on.

“In the Bendigo electorate, where local bulk billing rates are at crisis-level and the average out of pocket cost to see a doctor is $36.79, these changes will mean that some people can visit their GP less frequently to get a script refilled, saving time and money.

“Our pharmacists are a valued partner in delivering primary health services and every dollar saved by the Government will be reinvested straight back into community pharmacies to secure the ongoing strength of the sector.