Testosterone: utilisation analysis

Page last updated: 3 March 2017

Drug utilisation sub-committee (DUSC)

September 2016



The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) requested a 12 month utilisation analysis of testosterone to assess the impact of a change in the restriction that occurred 1 April 2015. The change included involving a specialist in the treatment for all patients; amending the serum testosterone threshold for androgen deficiency in males who do not have established pituitary or testicular disorder; and excluding treatment for low serum testosterone due primarily to age, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, infertility or drugs.

The additional requirement to involve a specialist in treatment was the only change to the subsidy criteria for micropenis, pubertal induction, or constitutional delay of growth or puberty; or for androgen deficiency with established pituitary or testicular disorders.

Date of listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

There are a variety of listings and forms of testosterone on the PBS. The first was listed prior to 1966.

Data Source / methodology

Data were extracted from the DUSC and Department of Human Services (DHS) prescription databases from the earliest available data and continuing to March 2016.

Key Findings

  • The restriction change to testosterone on 1 April 2015 reduced the use of testosterone subsidised on the PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
  • In the year after the restriction change compared to the year before:
    • The number of patients initiating testosterone therapy was 60% lower.
    • There was an 86% reduction in patients initiating testosterone under the non-established androgen deficiency restriction.
    • There was a reduction in the rate of people 40 years and over starting testosterone.
    • The number of prevalent patients was 20% lower.
    • The number of initiating patients where the first prescription was written by a GP reduced by 80%.
  • In 2015, the total number of supplied R/PBS-subsidised testosterone prescriptions was 17% less than in 2014. In 2015, Government expenditure in 2015 was $16.2 million, down 20% from 2014. 

Full Report