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More drugs added to 60-day dispensing medication list


The number of medicines available on a 60-day script has doubled since 1 March, with 184 now eligible. 

Hunter residents with ongoing health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, breast cancer and menopause will now be able to receive a two-month supply of their medication for the price of one script. 

Those without a concession card are expected to save up to $189 per medicine, annually, with pensioners and concession cardholders saving up to $46.20 per medicine, per year. 

The expansion follows news Australians have saved more than $11.7 million on almost 3 million 60-day scripts in the past 12 months since the program was launched. 

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson MP said the move would continue to benefit those within her electorate. 

“Local residents have told me 60-day scripts are saving them time and money and preventing unnecessary trips to the GP,” she explained.

“Cheaper medicines mean real cost of living relief for people in our community.  

“Our community has saved $1.8 million on cheaper medicines since the start of last year… and it’s set to continue in 2024.” 

Since January 2023, Ms Swanson claimed residents in the electorate of Paterson had saved $1,855,574 on cheaper medicines. 

In June 2023, Newcastle pharmacist Phil Dibben, from Scott-Dibben Chemist at Kotara, feared the 60-day script would “seriously impact” his patients.

He was one of hundreds of members of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia concerned the program would force reduced opening hours of pharmacies and, in turn, increase running costs.

This is because patients now pay only one dispensing fee for a 60-day prescription, rather than two fees for two one-month supplies.

Before 1 September 2023, most long-term medicines were only available for 30 days at a time.

For some patients the cost of medicines may have effectively halved.

The change also meant fewer trips to the GP for a prescription and fewer visits to the pharmacy to have medicine dispensed.

Pharmacists continue to hold concerns, particularly small business owners.

“We operate in an environment where the Government decides the cost of our products and if that funding gets cut in half to dispense medicine, there aren’t many options available. In the case of 6000 community pharmacies, mostly small and family operated pharmacies, a halving of funding will mean job losses, closures and the ending of free patient services.” – PGA.

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