PBS Expenditure and Prescriptions

Expenditure and Prescriptions twelve months to 30 June 2012

Tables of prescription volumes and government costs (expenditures) under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The same document broken into smaller sections:

Supplement 1 

Supplement 2

Supplement 3



Summary of Pharmaceutical Benefits processing, year ending 30 June 2012

Government Pharmaceutical Benefits expenditure on accrual accounting basis for the year ending 30 June 2012 totalled $9,193.7 million, compared with $8,872.7 million for the previous year.  This is a 3.6per cent increase.  The remainder of this summary refers to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Section 85 data reported on cash accounting basis.

Total PBS prescription volumes increased by 3.6 per cent to a total of 194.9 million, compared to 188.1 million for the previous year.

Government expenditure amounted to 83.4 per cent of the total cost of PBS prescriptions.  The remainder was patient contributions that amounted to $1,505.1 million, up from $1,423.8 million in the previous twelve-month period.

The majority of government expenditure on PBS prescriptions was directed towards concessional cardholders ($5,866.3 million, 77.8% of the total).  This is compared to concessional expenditure of $5,698.4 million in the previous period (77.7% of the total).

The average dispensed price per prescription of PBS medicines decreased to $46.42 for the year ending June 2012 ($46.57 for the year ending June 2011).  The average government cost of these scripts was $38.70 for the same period ($39.00 to June 2011).

The three drugs with the highest cost to government were Atorvastatin ($593.3 million), Rosuvastatin ($359.2 million) and Ranibizumab ($307.8 million).  The PBS drugs most frequently dispensed were Atorvastatin, followed by Rosuvastatin and Esomeprazole Magnesium Trihydrate. See Table 9(b) for details.

Important Information

Please direct enquiries about this publication or requests for complimentary copies via: 

PBS Information Management Section
Pharmaceutical Policy Branch, MDP 900
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848 Canberra ACT 2601

E-mail: pbsstats@health.gov.au

Unless otherwise indicated this publication has been produced using data provided to the Department of Health by the Department of Human Services. The figures reported in this publication relate to the value (benefit) or volume of PBS prescriptions that have been processed by the Department of Human Services. They refer only to paid services processed from claims presented by approved suppliers. They do not include any adjustments made against claims, any manually paid claims or any benefits paid as a result of retrospective entitlement or refund of patient contributions.

PBS Expenditure includes the following patient categories:

  • General - Ordinary
  • General - Safety Net
  • Concessional - Ordinary
  • Concessional - Free Safety Net
  • PBS Doctor's Bag

The patient category refers to the patient's eligibility status at the time of supply of the benefit. General patients hold a Medicare card, Concessional patients hold a Medicare card and one of the following cards from Centrelink:

  • Pension Concession Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Health Care Card

There are two safety net thresholds – one for general patients and the other for concessional patients.

From 1 January 2012, the general patient safety net threshold was $1,363.30.  When patients and/or their families reached this amount, they could apply for a Safety Net Concession Card and pay only $5.80 per prescription for the rest of the calendar year. The concessional safety net threshold was $348.00. Once patients and/or their families reached this amount, they could apply for a Safety Net Entitlement Card and receive items free of charge for the rest of the calendar year.

The Patient Contribution, Total Cost and Average Price amounts do not include brand or therapeutic premiums.

Caution should be exercised in referring to the breakdown by patient category in Table 15(a) on page 23 and Table 15(b) on page 27, because of a past problem in data supplied by the Department of Human Services whereby a number of General Safety Net scripts were wrongly allocated to Concessional Non-Safety Net.  This problem has been fixed for 2008-09, but the 2006-07 and 2007-08 allocations of scripts and expenditure by patient category were inaccurate and not strictly comparable to the corresponding 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 numbers.

The Department of Health has taken every care to ensure the data supplied is accurate but does not warrant that the data is error free and does not accept any liability for errors or omissions in the data.

The Department of Health has made every effort to ensure that the Microsoft Excel versions meet accessibility requirements. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the information contained within these documents, please contact pbsstats@health.gov.au  to arrange for an alternative format to be provided to you.