Prescription drug utilization following patient co-payment changes in Australia

Peter McManus*, Neil Donnelly, David Henry, Wayne Hall, John Primrose, Julie Lindner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


In November 1990 major patient co-payment changes were introduced into the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which accounts for around 90% of all community prescriptions in Australia. Interrupted time series analyses were performed to assess the impact of these co-payment changes on the prescription levels of defined groups of 'discretionary' and 'essential' drugs for both the general community and for a subgroup comprising elderly returned service men and women. While the co-payment changes themselves had a significant immediate effect on lowering the use of both categories of drugs, the effects were substantially larger for the 'discretionary' groups in both cases. Notably there was a clear postintervention trend for increased prescriptions of 'essential' drugs after the initial decline, which was not evident for the 'discretionary' drugs. The introduction of programmes to compensate high risk groups in Australia may have enabled the co-payment to become a more selective policy instrument than has been shown in other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


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