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Catholic Health says wealthy Australians could pay more for drugs

The curtailing of public funding of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme can be justified only if properly targeted to the better off and prosperous in the community, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.

Reports indicate that prescribed drug costs are expected to rise by at least 10% for most Australians in next month's federal Budget as the Government slashes $2 billion from the burgeoning cost of pharmaceutical benefits over the next four years.

Mr Sullivan said: "What is essential is that the safety net provisions for pensioners and families should not be tampered with given the Finance Minister's indication that the Budget does not need to be squeezed as much as previously anticipated.

"In the balance of things the community responsibility to adequately fund safety nets does justify an increase contribution from individuals who can well afford it and are less disadvantaged in both health and social circumstances," he said. "An increased copayment for high income earners will take pressure off the safety net provisions and is the only alternative to a claw back in public funding."

"It is essential that those who can ill afford to pay and low income families are quarantined from any copayment or safety net adjustment changes."

Budget to force up drug prices - by Mark Metherell and Michelle Grattan (SMH 10/4/02)


12 Apr 2002