Top 10 prescription drugs in Australia

Wednesday, 3 Aug 2016


Statins and blood pressure drugs make up eight of the top ten most commonly used prescription drugs in Australia. But when it comes to cost to taxpayers, it is adalimumab that tops the list, costing the government over $300 million in 2014–15.

Top 10 drugs by DDD/1000 pop/day *

Drug

DDD/1000 pop/day

1. atorvastatin

54.65

2. rosuvastatin

39.47

3. paracetamol

34.14

4. perindopril

33.80

5. amlodipine

30.08

6. irbesartan

27.33

7. esomeprazole

25.27

8. candesartan

23.41

9. ramipril

21.62

10. telmisartan

18.84

 Top 10 drugs by prescription counts

Drug

Prescriptions

1. atorvastatin

7 787 189

2. esomeprazole

7 170 908

3. rosuvastatin

7 070 240

4. paracetamol

6 446 680

5. pantoprazole

4 489 551

6. perindopril

4 015 432

7. metformin

3 589 937

8. fluticasone and salmeterol

3 147 115

9. irbesartan

2 992 442

10. salbutamol

2 976 106

 Top 10 drugs by cost to government

Drug

Cost to government (A$)

DDD/1000 pop/day *

Prescriptions

1. adalimumab

311 616 305

0.57

176 062

2. rosuvastatin

206 589 091

39.47

7 070 240

3. aflibercept

192 839 767

123 123

4. ranibizumab

179 612 417

116 311

5. fluticasone and salmeterol

175 215 964

3 147 115

6. esomeprazole

174 179 985

25.27

7 170 908

7. etanercept

164 075 133

0.31

93 629

8. rituximab

156 563 805

46 763

9. insulin glargine

142 760 966

7.45

347 652

10. fingolimod

134 752 870

0.19

58 858

* DDD/thousand population/day is a more useful measure of drug utilisation than prescription counts. It shows how many people in every thousand Australians are taking the standard dose of a drug every day. DDD includes use in combination products. The calcuation is based on ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics for June 2014 (as at December 2014).

 The figures are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions from the date of supply, and do not include private prescriptions or prescriptions under the co-payment

The World Health Organization has not allocated a DDD for this drug.

DDD defined daily dose, PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, RPBS Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Source: Department of Health, 15 June 2016. © Commonwealth of Australia

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