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Theraputic group premiums a win for consumers & taxpayers



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Australia's Commonwealth Departme...es. Media Release - Dr Wooldridg(wysiwyg://222/http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/mwl3597.htm

Media Release

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Dr Michael Wooldridge

MW 135/97 20 November, 1997

Joint Statement with Parliamentary Secretary, Ms Trish Worth

THERAPEUTIC GROUP PREMIUMS A WIN FOR CONSUMERS & TAXPAYERS

Consumers will not have to pay one cent more for about half o f the medicines affected by the Therapeutic Group Premiums (TGP) scheme commencing in February next year, according to the final list o f drugs and pricings released this morning.

Federal Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, and the Parliamentary Secretary with day-to-day responsibility for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), Ms Trish Worth, said expert clinical advice and consumer views had been taken into account in finalising the list o f medicines to be included in each therapeutic group.

"This is a good result which maintains a reasonably wide range o f choice o f medication with no extra cost to consumers and allows an exemption for consumers who are unable for clinical reasons to move to a lower priced drug," Dr Wooldridge and Ms Worth said.

"For those consumers who choose to stay with a higher priced drug the average premium set by manufacturers is about $2, with a range from 71 cents to $4.63 at the higher end. Only four drugs have a premium o f greater than $3 and, o f course, about half will cost no more.

"We are gratified that manufacturers have been responsible in their pricing and been sensitive both to the interest o f consumers and the need to contain costs to taxpayers," they said.

The Therapeutic Group Premiums scheme introduces greater competition into the pricing o f medicines which are judged by independent clinical and scientific experts to have an equivalent therapeutic effect. Similar arrangements with brand premiums for generic drugs (identical compounds) were introduced by the Labor Government in the 1990-91 Budget.

A benchmark price is established for each category o f drug which will be paid by the PBS, with consumers paying a small contribution if they choose to stay on a higher priced drug.

The four groups o f drugs affected by the TGP scheme are used to treat high blood pressure and related disease, high blood cholesterol, peptic ulcers and oesophageal reflux.

Two other groups o f medicines proposed to be included in the TGP scheme - beta blockers which are used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which are used to treat depression - have been excluded from the policy in response to advice from peak medical and consumer groups and clinical experts.

"I've spent the last few months talking to people about this issue and we've taken their advice on board, as we said we would in the Budget," Ms Worth said.

"I have had the benefit o f constructive and helpful discussions with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College o f Psychiatrists, the Australian Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

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Australia's Commonwealth Departme...es. Media Release - Dr Wooldridg

"There were genuine and legitimate concerns about application o f the policy to SSRIs and the need for a complex series o f exemptions. On balance we decided it would be wiser to remove this group from the scheme.

" The Royal Australian and New Zealand College o f Psychiatrists has agreed to develop best-practice prescribing guidelines to help address a concern that these drugs should be more wisely and appropriately prescribed," Ms Worth said.

Dr Wooldridge said that while exempting the SSRIs meant a reduction in savings o f $26 million over four years, the TGP scheme would deliver close to the original budget estimate o f $560 million over four years as the competition between manufacturers to be the benchmark drug in each category had lowered costs to the taxpayer-funded PBS beyond expectations.

"A lot o f manufacturers came back to us with reduced prices, which means a lower cost to taxpayers who fund the PBS so that this money can be used elsewhere. It's proof that a little competition can go a long way," Dr Wooldridge said.

"In fact, some drug companies have dropped their prices to the point where all drugs and brands are fully subsidised in one particular drug group used to treat high cholesterol.

"There has been a lot o f nonsense written about this policy over the last six months. Now that the facts are on the table, I think most people will see this as fair, sensible and compassionate.

"The salient fact remains that we are spending much more on the PBS in the next four years, on new and life-saving drugs, than we will save through this measure," he said.

Where there is a premium, patients can choose to pay the difference or talk to their doctor about a less expensive medicine that works just as well. The premiums will only apply to prescriptions written after 1 December 1997.

If patients have a clinical necessity to use a higher priced medicine, their doctor can apply for art exemption from the TGP so the patient will not have to pay more than today. Until 30 June 1998, requests for exemptions can be received at the Health Insurance Commission by either telephone or mail. After that date, a written authority prescription process will apply.

Ms Worth also released a full list o f the premiums which will apply to TGP drugs from the commencement o f the scheme on February 1, 1998 [copy attached].

"I've pushed for this pricing information to be released as early as possible to let people know the facts so they can make informed choices, and so that medical practitioners and pharmacists can work together to smooth the introduction o f the scheme," Ms Worth said.

Media Contact: Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge's office (06) 277 7220 Karen Halbert, Ms Worth's office (02) 6277 4927 Siobhain Ryan, Department o f Health & Family Services (02) 9289 5255

ACE INHIBITORS (used to treat high blood pressure & heart disease)

Generic Name Brand Name Extra charge

Captopril tablet 12.5mg 90 tablet 25mg 90 tablet 50mg

Acenorm 12.5mg (AF) nil

Acenorm 25mg (AF) nil

Acenorm 50mg (AF) ' nil

Capace 12.5mg (AD) nil

Capace 25mg (AD) nil

Capace 50mg (AD) nil

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Cilazapril tablet lm g 30

Captohexal 12.5mg (HX) Captohexal 25mg (HX) Captohexal 50mg (HX) DBL Captopril 12.5mg (BL) DBL Captopril 25mg (BL) DBL Captopril 50mg (BL) Enzacel2.5mg (SI) Enzace 25mg (SI) Enzace 50mg (SI) WL-Captopril 12.5mg WL-Captopril 25mg WL-Captopril 50mg

Capoten 12.5mg (BQ) Capoten 25mg (BQ) Capoten 50mg (BQ)

nil nil nil nil nil nil nil nil nil nil nil "

nil 1.95 (brand premium)* 1.95 (brand premium)* 1.95 (brand premium)*

Inhibace (BN) 2.05

tablet 2.5mg 30 tablet 2.5mg 30 Enalaril tablet 5mg 30 tablet lOmg 30 tablet 20mg 30

Fosinopril tablet lOmg 30 tablet 20mg 30

Perindopril tablet 2mg 30 tablet 4mg 30

Quinapril tablet 5 mg 30 tablet lOmg 30 tablet 20mg 30

Ramipril tablet 1.25mg 30 tablet 2.5mg 30 tablet 5mg 30

Inhibace (BN) Inhibace (BN)

Amprace 5mg (AD)

Amprace lOmg (AD) Amprace 20mg (AD) Renitec M 5 mg (MK) Renitec lOmg (MK) Renitec 20mg (MK)

Monopril (BQ)

Monopril (BQ)

Coversyl (SE)

Coversyl (SE)

Accupril 5mg (PD)

Accupril 1 Omg (PD) Accupril 20mg (PD) Asig 5mg (SI) Asig lOmg (SI) Asig 20mg (SI)

Ramace 1.25mg (AP)

2.05 2.06

2.01

2.00 2.00 2.01 2.00 2.00

1.70

1.70

1.00

0.99

nil

nil nil nil nil nil

2.52 (brand premium)*

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Australia's Commonwealth Departme...es. Media Release - Dr Wooldridg

Rarnace 2. 5mg (AP) 3.32 (brand premium)

Ramace 5mg (AP) 3.93 (brand premium)

Tritace 1.25mg (HP) nil

Tritace 2.5mg (HP) nil

Tritace 5mg (HP) nil

T randolaprilcapsule SOOrncg 28 capsule lm g 28 Gopten SOOrncg (KN) nil

capsule 2mg 38

Gopten lm g (KN) nil

Gopten 2mg (KN) nil .

Odrik SOOrncg (RL) nil

Odrik lm g (RL) nil

Odrik 2mg (RL) nil

* While consumers pay more than usual for these medicines, these charges are due to brand - not therapeutic group - premiums. Brand premiums have been in place since 1990 and apply to higher priced, clinically identical brands o f medicines. Therapeutic group premiums, on the other hand, apply to higher priced, clinically similar medicines.

** With Zestril, a brand ($0.60) and a therapeutic group ($1.40) premium applies.

CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS (used to treat high blood pressure & heart disease)

Generic Name Brand Name Extra charge

Amlodipine tablet 5mg 30 Norvasc (PF) 2.86

tablet lOmg 30

Norvasc (PF) 4.46

Felodipine tablet 2.5mg 30 tablet Smg 30

Agon SR 2.Smg (HP) nil

tablet lOmg 30

Agon SR Smg (HP) nil

Agon SR lOmg (HP) nil

Felodur ER 2.Smg (PM) nil

Felodur ER Smg (PM) nil

Felodur ER lOmg (PM) nil

Plendil ER 2.Smg (AP) 1.16 (brand premium)

Plendil ER Smg (AP) 1.46 (brand premium)

Plendil ER lOmg (AP) 2.36 (brand premium)

Nifedipine tablet lOmg 60 tablet 20mg 60 tablet 30mg 30

Adalat lOmg (BN) nil

tablet 60mg 30

Adapine 20mg (AD) nil

Nifecard 20mg (SI) nil

Nyefax 20mg (DP) nil

Adalat 20mg (BN) 1.55 (brand premium)

Adalat Oros 30mg (BN) nil

Adalat Oros 60mg (BN) nil

*

*

*

*

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* While consumers pay more than usual for these medicines, these charges are due to brand - not therapeutic group - premiums. Brand premiums have been in place since 1990 and apply to higher priced, clinically identical brands o f medicines. Therapeutic group premiums, on the other hand, apply to higher priced, clinically similar medicines.

HMG COA REDUCTASE INHIBITORS (used to treat high blood cholesterol)

Generic Name Pravastatin tablet Smg 30 tablet lOmg 30 tablet 20mg 30

Simvastatin tablet Smg 30 tablet lOmg 30 tablet 20mg 30 tablet 40mg 30

Brand Name Extra charge

Pravachol (BQ) nil

Pravachol (BQ) nil

Pravachol (BQ) nil

Lipex Smg (AD) nil

Lipex lOmg (AD) nil

Lipex 20mg (AD) nil

Lipex 40mg (AD) nil

Zocor Smg (MK) nil

Zocor lOmg (MK) nil

Zocor 20mg (MK) nil

Zocor 40mg (MK) nil

H2 RECEPTOR ANTAGONISTS (used to treat peptic ulcers & oesophageal reflux)

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Australia's Commonwealth Departme...es. Media Release - Dr Wooldridg

Generic Name Packaging Brand Name Extra charge

Cimetidine tablet 200mg 120 Tagamet 1.74 (brand premium)

tablet 400mg 60 Tagamet (SK) 1.74 (brand premium)

tablet 800mg 30 Tagamet (SK) 2.25 (brand premium)

effervescent tablet 80 Tagamet (SK) 4.63

tablet 200mg 120 Magicul 200 (AF) nil

tablet 400mg 60 Magicul 400 (AF) nil

tablet 800mg 30 Magicul 800 (AF) nil

tablet 200mg 120 Sigmetadine (SI) nil

tablet 400mg 60 Sigmetadine (SI) nil

tablet 200mg 120 WL-Cimetidine 400 nil

tablet 400mg 60 WL-Cimetidine 200 nil

Famotidine tablet 20mg 60 Amfamax 20 (AD) 3.00

tablet 40mg 30

Amfamax 40 (AD) 3.00

Pepcidine (MK) 3.00

Pepcidine (MK) 3.00

Nizatidine capsule 150mg 60 Tazac (LY) nil

capsule 300mg 30 Tazac (LY) nil

Ranitidine tablet 150mg 60 Zantac (GW) 0.71 (brand premium)

effervescent tablet 15 Zantac (GW) tablet 300mg 30 Zantac (GW) 0.71 (brand premium)

syrup 150mg/10ml Zantac (GW) 0.71

tablet 150mg 60 Rani 2 (AF) nil

tablet 300mg 30 Rani 2 (AF) nil

DBL Ranitidine nil

DBL Ranitidine nil

*

*

*

*

*

* While consumers pay more than usual for these medicines, these charges are due to brand - not therapeutic group - premiums. Brand premiums have been in place since 1990 and apply to higher priced, clinically identical brands o f medicines. Therapeutic group premiums, on the other hand, apply to higher priced, clinically similar medicines.

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