Prime Minister pledges cheaper prescriptions by lowering PBS co-payment as cost of living rises

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged a price cut to all medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if he wins the election under the biggest change to the scheme in decades.

While campaigning in Tasmania, Mr Morrison announced $10 price cut to the cost of all medicines listed on the PBS if he is re-elected by reducing the maximum PBS co-payment.

The price reduction would mean the maximum cost of any medication on the PBS would be $32.50, saving patients up to $120 a year.

The announcement is set to slash the price of PBS-listed medications. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Currently, the maximum co-payment is $42.50.

It comes as the cost of living has been in stark focus during the campaign after inflation rose to a 20-year high.

The government said the saving will benefit 19 million Australians and will cost the budget $150 million per year.

The change would come into effect from January 1 next year.

“In the Budget this year, we understood the need to take action to provide relief on cost-of-living pressures, and we know though pressures are real,” Mr Morrison said.

“There are many things you can’t control. You can’t control the war in Europe, you can’t control natural disasters. You can’t control whether there is a pandemic or not.

“All of these things impacting on the prices Australians are paying every day.

“You can make the safety net more generous to help people who are on these medications, and you can reduce this non-concessional payment down by $10 on every single script.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking in Tasmania on Saturday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking in Tasmania on Saturday. (9News)

President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey has welcomed the announcement after the organisation has rallied for adjustments to prescriptions prices for years.

“If we can’t afford the treatment that is prescribed we’re going to add to the pressures on the health system,” Mr Twomey said.

“The PBS has been around since WWII this is the only time medicines have gone in a different direction to up.

“This helps our patients paycheck to paycheck at the cash register.”

Pharmacy Guild of Australia President Trent Twomey.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia President Trent Twomey welcomes the announcement. (9News)

The change to the co-payment had already been accidentally revealed by two senior ministers around the time of the Federal Budget, however Mr Morrison saved the formal announcement for the campaign trail.

It comes after the government announced in the Budget changes to the PBS Safety Net Threshold from July 1, where concessional patients will reach the threshold at 12 fewer scripts.

Tanya Plibersek shared a throwback photo to Twitter to remind young Australians to enrol. The deadline to do so 8pm tonight.

Throwback photos of federal politicians

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