Image: Medical staff with patient

Improving access to medicines and technologies

Over the last four years, the Government has approved new medicines, including on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Life Saving Drugs Program and the National Immunisation Program. The number of new medicines or brands of medicines approved by the Government totals around 500, at a cost of around $4 billion.

Funding the latest medications and immunisations

The Government believes in helping Australians access new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and will spend $613 million over five years in this Budget on medicines and on the latest, most effective immunisations.

The immunisations, which are available free of charge, will help protect children against meningococcal disease and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and pneumococcal disease.

This brings the total number of new medicines or brands of medicines approved by the Government over the last four years to around 500, at a cost of around $4 billion.

Supporting best clinical practice by expanding access to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other medical services

This Budget provides $104 million over four years to make amendments to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to expand access to important MRI services, as current restrictions result in some patients finding it hard to access the most appropriate diagnostic services.

The Government will also provide $23 million over five years to amend the MBS to improve access to other medical services for all Australians. These additions to the schedule will provide access for patients to: Computed Tomography of the Coronary Arteries, new tests for HIV patients, and Endovenous Laser Therapy for the treatment of varicose veins.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure by year, 2002‑2015

Photo: Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure chart, by year, 2002-2015