Consumers benefit from affordable medicines

Consumers have been getting very good value for money when purchasing medicines over the past twenty years when compared with the rising prices for other commodities, and household income growth.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that over the last two decades between June 1991 and June 2012, consumer medicine prices have grown by 57 per cent. This compares with overall prices in the economy growing by 70 per cent over the same period. This means that the prices consumers pay for their medicines have not kept pace with inflation over the last 20 years.

In the same period, median household income grew by 118 per cent, meaning that household incomes have grown at more than double the rate of medicine prices. This compares with other areas of household expenditure which have grown at more than the rate of general inflation and household income, such as the prices for utilities and petrol.

Over the same 20 year period, the prices consumers pay for medical and hospital services have increased by 191per cent, or more than three times the rate that medicine prices have grown, and faster than household incomes have grown over the same period. So while consumers may be feeling the pressure of higher prices for health costs, this has not been due to medicine prices.

These findings are contained in the Medicines Partnership of Australia’s PBS Scorecard for December, issued today. The scorecard can be viewed here

While individual households will vary, according to ABS data average consumersspend only $5.83 per week of their household budget on prescription medicines. This compares with $6.16 a week on milk, $11.34 a week on cigarettes, $12.17 on mobile phones, $30.50 on fast food and takeaway, $31.97 a week on meals in restaurants and clubs, and $36.66 a week on petrol.

The Medicines Partnership of Australia is: The Pharmacy Guild, Medicines Australia, the Generic Medicines Industry Association, the Australian Self-Medication Industry, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the National Pharmaceutical Services Association.

4 December 2012

Media inquiries:Greg Turnbull 0412 910 261