Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme — not always cost effective for the chronically ill

Susanne P O'Malley
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja15.01123
Published online: 5 September 2016

Chronically ill patients without concession cards may save money through non-PBS bulk prescriptions

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) has been in operation for almost 60 years, with some benefits first being made available in 1948. It has evolved from supplying a limited number of “life-saving and disease-preventing drugs” free of charge to the community, into a broader, subsidised scheme. In its current form, the PBS was introduced in 1960 and included the introduction of a patient contribution (or co-payment) of 5 shillings to provide some control on volumes and expenditure.1

  • Susanne P O'Malley

  • Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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