Australia slashes prescription prices across therapeutic areas

The Australian government is reducing the price of 1,100 medicine brands listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. As a result, the price paid by millions of Australians for prescription medicines will be reduced, from the start of April.

Medications for conditions including high cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease, depression, breast cancer, eczema and psoriasis are on the list of subsidized therapies.

Records show that the government spent over A$10 billion ($7.65 billion) on the scheme in the 12 months to June 2016.

The three drugs with the highest cost to government were Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir), at a cost of A$358 million, Humira (adalimumab), costing A$335 million, and Lucentis (ranibizumab), which cost A$217.8 million.

These savings are part of more than A$20 billion ($15 billion) in savings estimated to be achieved by 2019-20, since the Australian government began reforming the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in 2007.

The government has also announced a number of new treatments and indications that will be added to the list, including Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) for Hodgkin lymphoma and Enstilar (calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate) for psoriasis.



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