Tables 1–3 show the top 10 drugs for the year July 2017 – June 2018. The figures are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions from the date of supply. The figures include prescriptions under the co-payment (non-subsidised).

None of the most frequently prescribed drugs in Australia appears in the Top 10 drugs by cost. That list is dominated by sofosbuvir and its combinations for the treatment of hepatitis C.

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

Drug DDD/1000 pop/day*
1. atorvastatin 71.34
2. rosuvastatin 54.02
3. perindopril 51.55
4. amlodipine 46.84
5. irbesartan 33.29
6. candesartan 33.11
7. telmisartan 30.89
8. esomeprazole 29.40
9. ramipril 27.93
10. metformin 24.89
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Table 2 - Top 10 drugs by prescription counts

Drug Prescriptions
1. rosuvastatin 11,246,365
2. atorvastatin 10,863,219
3. esomeprazole 9,442,144
4. pantoprazole 7,112,063
5. perindopril 6,466,954
6. cefalexin 5,458,659
7. amoxicillin 5,253,018
8. metformin 5,006,664
9. amoxicillin + clavulanic acid 4,680,931
10. escitalopram 4,187,180
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Table 3 - Top 10 drugs by cost to government (does not include rebates)

Drug

Cost to government

DDD/1000 pop/day *

Prescriptions

1. sofosbuvir + velpatasvir

$695,729,924

31,079

2. aflibercept

$324,696,598

255,264

3. adalimumab

$322,733,592

41.48

229,719

4. ledipasvir + sofosbuvir

$244,917,648

10,990

5. ranibizumab

$218,702,078

174,627

6. nivolumab

$215,410,197

43,215

7. sofosbuvir

$204,520,430

0.99

10,451

8. denosumab

$189,073,508

44.26

673,160

9. trastuzumab

$169,958,330

55,980

10. pembrolizumab

$148,956,436

17,631

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DDD defined daily dose

PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

RPBS Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

* 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 2017 (as at March 2018).

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

Source: Department of Health, October 2018. © Commonwealth of Australia

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