Most expensive medicines in Australia revealed


Eye disease has emerged as the most costly condition to treat on the nation's drug subsidy scheme, out-scoring cancer and even hepatitis C which both have extremely high cost treatments.

The medicine that cost taxpayers the most to subsidise last financial year was for the eye disease macular degeneration treatment Ablifercept sold under the brand names Eylea and Zaltrap.

Together these treatments cost the taxpayers more than $372.8 million in 2019-2020, a report for the government has revealed.

Revolutionary new cancer immunotherapy treatments Opdivo and Keytruda were the second most expensive drugs to the government in 2019-2020 at a cost of over $330 million each.

New medicines for hepatitis C cost on average up to $18,500 per patients and two of these Solvadi and Mavriet are among the top 10 highest cost drugs to taxpayers.

The bill to taxpayers for Solvadi was $223.2 million and Mavriet cost $186.5 million.

Medications for psoriasis (Humira), osteoporosis (Xgeva and Prolia) and anti-clotting drug Eliquis also made it onto the list of highest cost medications.

The average price of most of the highest cost medications was more than $5,000 per treatment underlining the value of the medicine subsidy scheme.

General patients paid just $41 for the medicines and pensioners and welfare recipients $6.60.





Interestingly, none of the most commonly used medications in the country made it into the list of the most expensive drugs.

Many of the most used medications are off patents and most of them cost less than $20 per script.

The two most commonly used medicines in the country were anti-cholesterol drugs Rosuvastatin and Atorvastatin followed by antacids Pantoprazole and esomeprazole.

Blood pressure medication Perinopril was the fifth most used medication followed by diabetes treatment Metformin.

Pain medication Pregabalin was the seventh most used drug Salbutamol sold as Ventolin was the eight most used.

Blood pressure treatments Amlodopine and Irbesartan were the ninth and tenth most used.

The total cost of the medicines subsidy scheme called the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme was $12,614 million in 2019-2020 compared with $11,818 million for the previous year.

This is an increase of 6.7 per cent.





Originally published as Most expensive medicines in Australia revealed

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