PBS to dispense with paracetamol, antacids

Paracetamol, aspirin and antacids could be taken off the PBS as part of a wider plan to save millions of dollars.

Moving drugs like paracetamol off the PBS would stop pensioners using such prescriptions to get the 60 scripts a year required for all subsequent scripts to be free, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Department of Health figures shows there were 6.7m scripts for paracetamol written in 2013-14 at a cost of $73m to the government. There were 1.1m scripts for aspirin, at a cost of $4m and 219,000 scripts for antacids at a cost of $2.6m.

Speaking over the weekend Health Minister Sussan Ley said the present system had some inbuilt “perverse” disincentives and incentives.

The government was paying a lot of money for people to access paracetamol and other over-the-counter medications on script that was not necessarily sustainable and not necessarily in the interest of patients overall, she said.

“I’m confident this is in the interests of consumers, it’s in the interest of our budget and in the interests of our whole medicine supply chain,” she said.

In other news Fairfax Media reported that the Therapeutic Goods Administration was considering making it necessary to visit a doctor to buy product such as Nurofen Plus, Panadeine and other common painkillers.

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