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BCNA News 04 May 2023

BCNA welcomes pharmacy prescription changes for breast cancer medications

The financial impact for many who require hormone therapy following a breast cancer diagnosis will be lessened thanks to changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The new decision will allow consumers to have two months’ worth of medicine dispensed for the price of a single prescription for some medications.

From 1 September 2023, people will start to pay less to access 325 medications on the PBS – with the Federal Government allowing a 60-day supply to be dispensed each time a person goes to the pharmacy, instead of a 30-day supply.

This effectively halves the costs of these medications.

Five of the 325 medications are hormone-blocking therapies used to treat hormone receptor positive breast cancer. These are:

  • Letrozole
  • Exemestane
  • Anastrozole
  • Tamoxifen
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate

Hormone-blocking therapies are drugs used to treat hormone receptor positive breast cancer, and many people are required to use them for as many as five to ten years after their diagnosis, representing a significant ongoing cost.

This change may also lead to people needing to visit their GP less often to re-prescribe medications – leading to further savings. 

The medications will be added to the new system in three tranches - September 2023, March 2024 and September 2024. BCNA does not yet know when each of the five breast cancer medications will move to the 60-day dispensing system.

BCNA’s Director of Policy, Advocacy and Support Services Vicki Durston says BCNA welcomes any policy change from government that makes medicines more affordable for people affected by breast cancer.