Changes to PBS won't change supply

Colin Murdock
Colin Murdock Contributed

A POTTSVILLE pharmacist has reassured customers concerned about medication shortages under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme due to come into effect on April 1.

The Federal Government will change the way it subsidises prescription medications on April 1, by forcing generic brand medications to disclose the price they sell for.

This will enable the government to lower its subsidies to the generic price, cutting the cost of the scheme.

Concerns were raised when the changes were first announced that pharmacies and manufacturers would limit stock in the lead-up to the price cuts, to prevent losing money when the subsidies were reduced on April 1.

Pharmacist Colin Murdock, of Murdock Pharmacy Group, has assured his customers that while these changes may affect the price of original, more expensive brands, it won't affect stock levels.

"Most of the manufacturers started reducing their prices in the lead-up to the changes to ease the transition, so stock levels wouldn't be affected," Mr Murdock said.

"The original brands will still be available but might be a little more expensive as the brand price premium changes.

"The Government is encouraging the use of generics.

"They are very strictly regulated. The only difference between a generic and original brand is the costing and appearance, the active ingredient is the same."

A 70-year-old Pottsville pensioner, who asked not to be named, called the media last week with concerns about some of her medications no longer being available.

Mr Murdock said any customers with concerns should call into the pharmacy and ask to speak with him directly.

"There are quite a lot of different products that will be affected," Mr Murdock said.

"It is easiest to talk to your pharmacist directly."

Mr Murdock also said a current shortage of the diuretic product Spiractin was unrelated to the changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and was caused by a manufacturing hold-up.

Topics:  chemist medication pbs pharmaceutical benefits scheme

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