Tables 1–3 show the top 10 subsidised drugs for the year July 2015 – June 2016. The figures are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions from the date of supply, and do not include private prescriptions or prescriptions under the co-payment.

This year’s tables are notable for the arrival of the drugs which aim to eradicate hepatitis C. Table 3 shows that since the drugs were subsidised in March 2016 the expenditure on sofosbuvir alone, or in combination with ledipasvir, is approaching $1 billion.

Table 1 - Top 10 drugs by DDD/1000 pop/day *

Drug

DDD/1000 pop/day *

1. atorvastatin

52.81

2. perindopril

33.82

3. rosuvastatin

33.56

4. amlodipine

30.66

5. paracetamol

26.85

6. irbesartan

25.60

7. esomeprazole

23.18

8. candesartan

22.71

9. ramipril

20.40

10. telmisartan

18.87

Table 2 - Top 10 drugs by prescription counts

Drug

Prescriptions

1. atorvastatin

7 630 309

2. esomeprazole

6 889 031

3. rosuvastatin

6 540 962

4. paracetamol

5 056 087

5. pantoprazole

4 747 823

6. perindopril

4 049 113

7. metformin

3 578 536

8. pregabalin

3 237 101

9. fluticasone and salmeterol

3 003 985

10. salbutamol

2 975 537

Table 3 - Top 10 drugs by cost to government

Drug

Cost to government (A$)

DDD/1000 pop/day *

Prescriptions

1. ledipasvir and sofosbuvir

570 730 056

25 205

2. sofosbuvir

372 094 623

0.14

18 738

3. adalimumab

335 857 859

0.62

194 405

4. ranibizumab

241 256 012

163 595

5. aflibercept

231 194 036

155 404

6. esomeprazole

170 554 177

23.18

6 889 031

7. etanercept

166 538 773

0.32

97 291

8. trastuzumab

157 134 2 1 1

50 217

9. fluticasone and salmeterol

148 878 399

3 003 985

10. insulin glargine

146 202 125

7.71

367 253


* DDD/thousand population/day is a more useful measure of drug utilisation than prescription counts. It shows how many people in every thousand Australians are taking the standard dose of a drug every day. DDD includes use in combination products. The calculation is based on ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics for December 2015 (as at March 2016).

The World Health Organization has not allocated a DDD for this drug.

DDD defined daily dose

PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

RPBS Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Source: Department of Health, October 2016. © Commonwealth of Australia

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