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Type: Journal article
Title: The impact of co-payment increases on dispensings of government-subsidised medicines in Australia
Author: Hynd, A.
Roughead, E.
Preen, D.
Glover, J.
Bulsara, M.
Semmens, J.
Citation: Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 2008; 17(11):1091-1099
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1053-8569
Statement of
Anna Hynd, Elizabeth E. Roughead, David B. Preen, John Glover, Max Bulsara, and James Semmens
Abstract: PURPOSE: Patient co-payments for medicines subsidised under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) increased by 24% in January 2005. We investigated whether this increase and two related co-payment changes were associated with changes in dispensings of selected subsidised medicines in Australia. METHOD: We analysed national aggregate monthly prescription dispensings for 17 medicine categories, selected to represent a range of treatments (e.g. for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, gout). Trends in medication dispensings from January 2000 to December 2004 were compared with those from January 2005 to September 2007 using segmented regression analysis. RESULTS: Following the January 2005 increase in PBS co-payments, significant decrease in dispensing volumes were observed in 12 of the 17 medicine categories (range: 3.2-10.9%), namely anti-epileptics, anti-Parkinson's treatments, combination asthma medicines, eye-drops, glaucoma treatments, HmgCoA reductase inhibitors, insulin, muscle relaxants, non-aspirin antiplatelets, osteoporosis treatments, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and thyroxine. The largest decrease was observed for medicines used in treating asymptomatic conditions or those with over-the-counter (OTC) substitutes. Decrease in dispensings to social security beneficiaries was consistently greater than for general beneficiaries following the co-payment changes (range: 1.8-9.4% greater, p = 0.028). CONCLUSIONS: The study findings suggest that recent increase in Australian PBS co-payments have had a significant effect on dispensings of prescription medicines. The results suggest large increase in co-payments impact on patients' ability to afford essential medicines. Of major concern is that, despite special subsidies for social security beneficiaries in the Australian system, the recent co-payment increase has particularly impacted on utilisation for this group.
Keywords: Humans; Time Factors; Health Policy; Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Veterans; Cost Control; Cost Sharing; Drug Costs; Prescription Fees; Financing, Government; Social Security; Insurance, Health, Reimbursement; Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services; National Health Programs; Drug Utilization; Australia; Nonprescription Drugs; Drug Prescriptions; Prescription Drugs
Description: The definitive version may be found at
RMID: 0020083493
DOI: 10.1002/pds.1670
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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