Costs of paying higher prices for equivalent effects on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

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Objective. The aims of the present study were to illustrate and discuss the effects of the non-maintenance of equivalent prices when the comparators of pharmaceuticals listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) on a costminimisation basis come off-patent and are subject to statutory price reductions, as well as further potential price reductions because of the effects of price disclosure.

Methods. Service use, benefits paid, and price data were analysed for a selected sample of pharmaceuticals recommended for listing on a cost-minimisation basis between 2008 and 2011, and their comparators, to estimate the cost savings to the PBS of maintaining equivalent prices.

Results. Potential cost savings for 12 pharmaceuticals, including alternative compounds and combination products across nine therapeutic groups, ranged from A570 000 to A40 million to April 2015. Potential savings increased significantly following recent amendments to the price disclosure process.

Conclusions. Potential savings from maintaining equivalent prices for all pharmaceuticals listed on the PBS on a costminimisation basis could be over A500 million per year. Actions to reduce these costs can be taken within existing policy frameworks, but legislative and political barriers may need to be addressed to minimise these costs, which are incurred by the taxpayer for no additional benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberAH15122
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Journal Compilation © AHHA 2017 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND


  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS)
  • cost-minimisation
  • cost-effectiveness
  • off-patent
  • price disclosure


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