Skip to content Skip to menu

New Government figures show PBS growing at less than inflation

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Media Release

The Government’s budgetary concerns over the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme have been blown out of the water by the Government’s own figures.

The latest Medicare Australia data released yesterday shows that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is growing at less than the rate of inflation.

According to Medicare, the PBS grew by 2.8 per cent in the year to March 2011. This compares with the latest inflation figure of 3.3 per cent, also released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the Consumer Price Index for the year to March 2011.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said the latest data confirmed that PBS spending was under control and was not presenting the Government with any fiscal challenge.

“This data shows the PBS is actually going backwards in real terms,” Dr Shaw said.

“Whatever concerns the Government has about health expenditure, the PBS is one area of spending that it knows is being well contained.

“Given the slow growth of the PBS, the Government should reverse its decision not to list new medicines on the PBS.

“The irony is that just as the Government is restricting Australians’ access to new medicines, Government spending on the PBS is actually falling in real terms.

“The argument that PBS expenditure needs to be micro-managed by Cabinet just does not stack up against the latest available evidence.

“If anything, the fact that Government support for Australian patients is falling at the same time as the Government is seeking to further restrict Australians’ access to medicines should be a concern for all Australians.

“Medicines Australia has negotiated a good framework for managing the PBS with the Government in the form of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Commonwealth last year.

“This latest data shows that this framework is working effectively.”


Contact Person:

Jamie Nicholson
Media Communications Manager
Phone: 0419 220 293


As COVID19 continues to spread, our thoughts go out to anyone who has been infected or impacted. We hope that you are taking the necessary precautions to keep safe and well, both at work and at home.

Medicines Australia continues to monitor the situation and take advice from the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation. We are focused on responding to the important short-term issues but are also ensuring we stay balanced and maintain a focus on the medium and long-term business for our industry along with the well-being of our people.

At Medicines Australia we have initiated the following to ensure we support containment measures to provide business continuity and the well-being of our staff.

  • All non-essential travel has been restricted or cancelled
  • All face-to-face meetings (with external stakeholders and members) have been changed to virtual meetings (where appropriate)
  • Staff have been provided with the latest official information on COVID-19 through a hot-link on the office intranet; this information is regularly monitored and updated
  • Flexible working arrangements are covered in our HR policy which will allow staff to work remotely, if or when required
  • Current IT infrastructure enables staff to work remotely and will be in use if any person needs to self-isolate
  • Visual reminders have been displayed around the office, providing information about best hygiene practices
  • Extra hand-sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products have been supplied to staff for their work spaces

Our latest information is located at