Paracetamol de-listing fails to add-up

Thursday, 14 Jan 2016

The government’s decision to delist sustained-released paracetamol from the PBS is based on an “elementary error” in calculating the cost for concession cardholders, the Pharmacy Guild says.

The result of this “flawed decision” is that the vast majority of Australia’s 1.9 million people living with osteoarthritis now had to pay significantly more for their essential pain medication, said the Pharmacy Body in a statement.

Last April the PBAC set out clear criteria for de-listing PBS medicines on the premise that they were available outside the PBS at a price no higher than the PBS concessional co-payment of $6.10.

However, the Pharmacy Guild says it believes the PBAC overlooked the fact that each month patients were dispensed two packs, not one.

The non-PBS price of two packs of ‘Panadol Osteo’ was higher than the $6.10 threshold that the PBAC set for de-listing.

“For many pensioners who normally reach the PBS safety net, their annual out-of-pocket costs for Panadol Osteo may triple,” The Guild said in a statement.

To make matters worse GlaxoSmithKline announced last month that it was raising the wholesale price of Panadol Osteo by 50% because the PBS delisting made it “no longer able to sustain its current pricing”.

In response The Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the ACCC would look into GlaxoSmithKline’s cost increase and recommended that consumers “shop around” for cheaper generics.


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