Co-payment increases present added challenges for patients
13 May 2014
The increase in the PBS co-payment announced in the Federal Budget could result in more Australians needing increased monitoring to ensure they are compliant with their medicines regimen, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.
National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the increase in the PBS co-payment could put added financial pressure on some people’s ability to continue taking their medicines.
“The increase in the co-payment may mean that some patients feel they need to make a decision about the medicines they are taking and this raises very serious issues regarding patients’ safe and effective use of medicines,” Mr Kardachi said.
Coupled with the new MBS co-payment for GP visits, out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services, vulnerable patients may be forced into a situation where they make a financial decision about seeking medical attention or adhering to their medicines instead of focusing on their health.
Pharmacists are medicines experts and should not be put in a position where they may need to counsel patients about managing their medicine use based on financial pressures.
“The Government will not be explaining the increases in co-payments to patients rather it will be pharmacists as the most accessible, frontline health professionals”, Mr Kardachi said.
It is essential that patients do not discontinue taking their medicines without first talking to their pharmacist or GP.
“Patients neglecting to take medicines prescribed by their GP will only result in an increase in ongoing heath costs and hospitalisations which in turn will add to greater pressures being imposed on the already strained health budget.
“Patients with concerns or questions should speak to their pharmacist when having their medicines dispensed.”
Media contact: Peter Waterman
Public Affairs Director
0419 260 827