Leading seniors advocacy organisation Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia has welcomed changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which will see Australians able to buy two-months worth of some medicines for the price of a single prescription.
"Prescriptions aren't a luxury item - they're a necessity. Making our prescriptions cheaper will hopefully ease some of the stress and pressure many people are facing at the moment," said COTA chief executive Patricia Sparrow.
"Many older people have to take several different types of medication and this adds up, especially if you are on a fixed income and trying to balance the cost of these essential and necessary items with other rising costs."
COTA said the cost of prescriptions could be a real strain on budgets and highlighted the case of an older person who reported having to cut back on daily care and choose between food for themselves, food for their dog, or taking medication every two to three days instead of daily to make the prescription last for three months instead of one,
The change would come come as welcome relief to many older Australians who were struggling financially, it said.
Ms Sparrow said it was great to see the Federal Government taking action to support Australians who need access to prescriptions on a regular basis.
"This is a practical step from the Federal Government that will make a big difference to many older Australians from both a health, wellbeing and financial perspective. The phasing in approach being adopted will ensure that people can gain the full benefits of the change."
The Heart Foundation has also welcomed the proposal.
"For many people, heart conditions are lifelong. For those who are on long term medications, access to two months' supply will increase the convenience of managing heart disease which can feel overwhelming at times. Most patients would welcome anything that improves the convenience of their treatments," said chief executive David Lloyd.
The Heart Foundation said it supported a staggered approach to the implemented of the policy to ensure supply change resilience, particularly in rural and remote areas.
The medication changes will be introduced from September in three pahses. More than 300 medicines will be on the list, including treatment for conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol, Crohn's disease and hypertension.
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