Offers of cheaper meds by chemists

Picking up my meds yesterday they popped a flyer in the bag printing out their prices on medicines.

I have seen this advertised by Chemists on the TV - half price and so on.

Wondered how it was done but figured out that they are just using the doctors script as a private one rather than a PBS one so can give you the lower price instead of the $33 dollars an item.

So thought about it and we don't get a lot that is cheaper than $5.30.

So will the PBS get enough in to pay for the more expensive meds?

If not - what will happen then?

Hope it wont mean we will be hit with a higher co payment as those on the pension only - will be hardest hit as usual :(

Just a thought


I didn't quite understand what you mean Val ?

Yes Val you are right in thinking that the cheaper meds in the flyer don't cost less for PBS script holders.

But they do show you the difference between in cost of the well known brand and the same medicine sold as generic. It is true that the price is often half or more. And the medicine is exactly the same. this saves the PBS millions of $$$$ if we choose the generic brand. They have been on the tv about generic medicines being the same. But if we have PBS we pay only $5.30 whether it is the brand we know or the generic. Only the PBS loses millions of $$$$ if we don't ask our doctor or chemist about the cheaper brand. The flyers are for people on private scripts who pay the full price. They want to know that their medicine can cost half if they change to the generic brand which is just the same. if we change to generic brand maybe the PBS will go further and be able to put more expensive drugs down to $5.30? Thats what i think, what do you think?

It is great families with children can cut the Chemist bill but receive what they require. The cut price chemists have made a lot of difference to chemist/cosmetic and other costs for so many people..

We save heaps on always choosing Generic. Never had a problem either.

Works for us.


Yes Val you are right in thinking that the cheaper meds in the flyer don’t cost less for PBS script holders.

Ermm - some misunderstandings here I think.

Firstly any person who goes to the Doctor and gets prescribed say a BP med and then goes to a chemist who advertises that they can get it cheaper - gets it at the price on the list. Not paying the PBS co payment.

Doctors use the exact same script for private drugs not on the scheme as for those on the scheme.

Also the reason generic meds are slightly cheaper than the branded meds which have been through the trials lasting any years and costing millions of dollars to bring to the point that they can be used on human patients. This input cost is added into the selling price of the drug to chemists who then sell it on to the patient either privately or on a PBS script whereby they pay the PBS Scheme item cost $33 or whatever it currently is. Generic are actually heaps cheaper to manufacture because of no R&D;input to recoup but like all these items priced just bellow the cost of Aussie manufactured drugs to make sure of higher profits to the manufacturer. (Applies to food, clothes and any item in the shops. Whole reason for going off shore is to make already good profits much much larger by using cheap almost slave labour)

The whole point of generics is that they are a copy of the original drug once the 14 years of the patent runs out and anyone in any factory in any backstreet of any country in the world and not all of them are renowned for their good practices or even honest trading - can then make it up and [b]all they have to do to get it sold as good for humans is to have the active ingredient in it. It has no mandatory inclusion of making this the first grade of the active ingredient either. They do not have to follow the actual whole ingredients of the original tried and tested drug at all.

They can use other fillers to make the drug up and it is this along with the grade of active ingredient which maybe weaker than used in original -that is the cause of the problems with the efficacy of the drugs.

Most are reported as being far too weak compared to the original and some are too strong as reported on the Internet by doctors[/b]

Concession card holders pay $5.30 for all PBS prescribed drugs with the proviso that once a cheaper generic comes on the scheme then the patient has to pay the difference between the cost of the generic and the cost of the original trialled and tested drug.

Yes you save a tiny bit not paying a levy if you take a generic and have to hope it works for you and that it was made in a proper factory that had actually been randomly checked by our authorities but don't hold your breath as they were supposed to check Pan Pharmaceuticals which was in Sydney and they didn't until someone was very ill and only then did it get checked and closed down for cutting corners to save costs.

Guess what many generics are made overseas in not always the best conditions using the best ingredients and much as our top bods like to travel the inspectors I suspect do not get to travel the world very often checking on making of generic drugs.

Also did you know that soon many of our good tried and tested original drugs made right here in Australia will also soon going off shore with loss of even more jobs be made in guess where - China - so that these companies can cut costs of manufacture to compete with the generic companies and still make profits - see Profits are the name of the game not the welfare of the human patient but the bank accounts of the company execs and shareholders so be aware.

Yep so do go on making yourself feel a little bit better by not paying the small levy for the best drug for your condition tried and tested and maybe damage your health.

Also making damn sure that by so doing and buying generics you are helping to send our good drugs to China and soon we will all have to check the country of origin before buying any drugs.

Plus of course if more and more manufacturing goes off shore and jobs are lost - our welfare budget will be even more stretched and then your pension rise will be even more uncertain as income taxes rise to pay for welfare dole payment for workers losing their jobs.

I actually do not care what you do or do not do- use safe tested drugs or risk your health for a pittance saved after all it only you that is actually suffer if a weak generic does not work.

I only drew your attention to the latest practise, to add

to the pracitise that you can bundle all those expensive entertainment PayTV mobile phones and internet together and save heaps too if you have the money in the first place which does not apply to anyone on the pension only as income. Most families can do this and save and if they do have kids they also get the welfare handouts Howard gave them -and Rudd didn't cut in the Budget this year so not so badly off as a pensioner.

I've found that a couple of my meds were produced by the same company. Ear drops and eye drops. Surely they don't change the active ingredients, just to save money. Simply change brands so that they capture the market and benefit both ways?

If there is no generic brand pensioners pay $5.30 per script!

If there is a generic brand the pensioner does pay the difference!

I have a trusted older lady Chemist who always uses generic brands when available for her husband and herself, and today told us there is SO much scandal mongering and the making of people upset re generic brands it is not funny! but Chemists are quite happy to most use generic brands and think people are allowed to save money on exactly the same medication.

My Chemist laughed when I mentioned fillers today, and said "a filler is a filler" and all are well checked or they would never get through.

We are happy and always have been with generic brands so will certainly stick with the Chemist we trusts expertise.

I have a trusted older lady Chemist who always uses generic brands when available for her husband and herself, and today told us there is SO much scandal mongering and the making of people upset re generic brands it is not funny! but Chemists are quite happy to most use generic brands and think people are allowed to save money on exactly the same medication.

My Chemist laughed when I mentioned fillers today, and said "a filler is a filler" and all are well checked or they would never get through.

We are happy and always have been with generic brands so will certainly stick with the Chemist we trusts expertise.

Ha Ha Ha yep bet she laughed all the way to the Bank!

Easy to say something but how do you prove she uses generics over tried and tested drugs?

Obviously you missed out reading the media release in December 2006 a time to release bad news of scandals and stuff as governments hope that many will be head down bum up looking forward to Christmas and not notice.

Here it is that is if I can get it all on one post. If not will continue on next.


November 16, 2006

Patients will pay less for hundreds of medicines under a massive shake-up of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that scraps secret kickbacks to pharmacists and returns $3 billion to the government.

Changes announced by Health Minister Tony Abbott today cut the price of generic drugs, meaning patients will pay an average of $2.17 less for an estimated 427 drugs from August 2008.

The long-awaited package of reforms was met with cautious approval from pharmacists - who will be compensated $1 billion for losing secret discounts - and industry groups today.

[b]Until now, the price the government has paid for generic drugs has been artificially inflated by secret, under-the-counter deals drug companies have made with pharmacies.

Drug companies have encouraged pharmacists to prescribe their brand by offering them below the PBS-set price, allowing pharmacists to keep the difference.

But from August 2008, the government will pay up to 25 per cent less for generic medicines so kickbacks will fall.

From 2012, the government will pay the price that drug companies are offering to pharmacists, ending the secret discount scheme.[/b]

The government has already cut 12.5 per cent off prescription medicines when a similar generic product is available.

Mr Abbott said the reforms would save the government $580 million during the next four years and a total of $3 billion over the next decade as patents on more than 100 medicines expire.

He said many drugs will end up costing less than the $29.50 co-payment most Australians currently pay for PBS subsidised prescription medicines.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Kos Scalvos estimated patients would pay between 20 cents and $4.65 less for 427 drugs that would fall below the co-payment line, or were already below the line.

The government would pay less for about 3,500 drugs overall, he said.

Mr Abbott today said the savings would put the government in a stronger position to list expensive patented drugs, such as the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, on the PBS.

But opposition health spokeswoman Julia Gillard has called on the government to guarantee the entire $3 billion will be channelled back into the PBS.

Ms Gillard said few patients would benefit from the scheme as most medicines would not fall below the co-payment line.

Pharmacists today accepted the PBS changes as necessary to make the scheme viable over the long term, but said they could come at a cost to their businesses.

[b]They will be compensated for the lost kickbacks with a higher fee to supply PBS medicines, an extra $1.50 payment for each prescription and an extra 40 cents per script dispensed using PBS online.

Mr Abbott said the compensation would cost $1.1 billion over four years from the 2006-07 financial year.

"I am not saying that pharmacists were ripping anyone off (by being given the discounts from drug companies)," Mr Abbott told reports in Sydney.

"But their business model built these discounts into them and if we're going to take these discounts out and make them available to taxpayers we had to provide a certain amount of compensation, which is what we've done."[/b]

The guild said the price cuts would affect pharmacies.

Mr Scalvos said the new system would pose "significant hurt" to the industry overall but he hoped community pharmacies would receive fair remuneration once the 2012 changes came into effect.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomed any reforms to keep the PBS sustainable, but also warned that if the changes hit pharmacists' bottom lines it could undermine their ability to give professional service.

Industry body Medicines Australia said the package should go a long way towards ensuring patients ongoing access to new medicines.

But chairman John Young warned the government's desire to get better value from off-patent medicines could come at a cost to pharmaceutical companies which focus on developing new medicines.

"There is potential for a significant negative impact on the business of many of our member companies," he said.


There you go and you can see why they pushed the generics over the tried and tested original drugs.

Money being the root of all evil and greed these days!

Also there is a difference in the way generics work to the way the original ones work if they use different fillers - she was trading on your ignorance of chemistry.

Many doctors have found that generics do not work as well and look - do they prescribe them?

I don't think so!

Here is another report on the subject.

Time to put pharmacists under the microscope


Dr David Monash, a rural GP in Victoria, writes:

In the heart of Sydney, six men in suits meet. Three of the men are from Big Pharma and three are from a large pharmaceutical chain in Australia. The subject of their discussions is the price for which the company will sell their generic medication to the chain.

As the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme price paid to the pharmacies is set by the Government, every cent they can obtain the drug for below this price is money in the pockets of the pharmacists. They find it easier to negotiate a "good" price with more pharmacies in their group. This advantage has led to the rapid spread of pharmacy chains across Australia.

But why does this matter? Doctors determine the medications we receive don’t they? That’s where all the attention is focused, with clear codes of conduct, etc. This is true: the doctors choose the medication but they do not choose the BRAND of medication.

Even if a doctor writes a prescription for a generic the pharmacist determines which brand the patient receives unless the patient insists on receiving the brand the doctor prescribed.

The pharmacist has another bargaining chip to play in their negotiation over price -- the promise to limit the pharmacies in the chain from dispensing other brands, including generics, over a set period. They have found in the past that the line "I don’t have that brand but can get it in for you in three days" works well to direct most patients to the brand of generic they wish to sell.

There is no media or any other scrutiny and no code of conduct for such negotiations. Such is the power of the Pharmacy Guild, most people aren’t even aware this process occurs.

In another part of Sydney, 120 doctors are ushered into a ballroom where a $100 per head dinner takes place. The guest speaker has been chosen and briefed by the host -- Big Pharma -- but is an expert in his/her field and answers questions from a knowledgeable audience.

Such events occur all over the country. In some regions the only contact the local doctors have with such specialists is via this method. The doctors all leave, having received entertainment valued at less than 0.0005% of their gross income: hardly sufficient to influence their prescribing pattern. The media cover the event and it is reported and scrutinised carefully by the watch dog established to enforce the code that covers such events. Total cost: less than $150,000.

There are 4200 pharmacists in Australia, with over 167 million prescriptions issued on the PBS in 2006-2007. One dollar saved on each script via discounted generics puts close to $40,000 in each of their pockets per year.

Does this arrangement receive scrutiny? Why should the pharmacist choose the specific generic the patient receives?

Why does the Federal Government via the national prescribing service (NPS) advertise for people to choose generic medicines when all the financial benefit for doing so flows into the pocket of the pharmacists and not the people?

Does the supply of generic medication, a different size and shaped tablet, each month, cause patient confusion and medication error? With the impending negotiations in relation to the next pharmacy agreement, perhaps this situation can and should be corrected.



Please God give me strength lol.

Big Val you think you know more than my Chemist and in fact more on EVERY subject Seniors put anything in on. You get great pleasure with your reams of writing and hey I am not knocking it, If it gives you so much pleasure and fills in your time apparently go for it.

I just wonder if just once you could give credit to someone! or something! or well just come onto Seniors with something nice to say. Be happy occasionally and smell the flowers. :)

Sorry but I rarely if ever!!!!!!! read your reams and reams.......I skim the surface sometimes like with this post as you have quoted me, but normally no......

We are very happy with Generics! We will keep using them, while they work fine for us and many others! You are not! don't use them then.........Easy.


Thanks for that info Val--I never saw that either--but good to know all angles--I always buy the proper Scripts--I have bought a few generic ones in the past but as they looked quite different --I went back to the original ones

"Thanks for that info Val--I never saw that either--but good to know all angles"

- my opinion also.

Today's life is not all sunshine and lollipop, we must be vigilant as we are constantly bombarded with greedy schemes

and a Forum like this is the only way our voices are heard and information can be passed around.

I do buy generics, simply for financial reasons.

Personal choice of course, but, like with private health insurance, would rather pay that extra and feel safe. Would rather live in a tent than give up what's best for my health, so that I can continue to smell the roses a bit longer.

I for one, appreciate, as I have previously mentioned, and am in awe of the time and trouble taken by BigVal for the research that goes into your posts.


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