Consumers welcome Labor pledge to stop $5 medicines rise

The Consumers Health Forum welcomes Labor’s pledge not to proceed with a planned rise of up to $5 in the charge for prescribed medicines.

“Australians face heavy co-payments for health care as it is and increases of between 80c and $5 extra depending on concession status would hit those with chronic illness and families on modest incomes,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells said.

“Experience with a previous big increase in PBS medicine charges showed that 5 -10 per cent of people on low incomes did not get the medicine prescribed by the doctor because of increased cost. It is vital health care that is often foregone when individual families weigh up their budgets – decisions which often result in their requiring more expensive urgent care later.

“We have already called on both sides to reconsider the Medicare freeze and support Labor’s promise to end it. We acknowledge that health costs are a significant budgetary issue but believe the Government should look at health costs and, more fundamentally where we are investing government funding for health overall, before imposing further out-of-pocket costs on consumers.

“Australians support our national health system because it is meant to provide access to quality care and medicines to everybody regardless of income. Keeping rises in the price of medicines within inflation limits is a key part of that system while looking at other measures to take pressure off the PBS” Ms Wells said.


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