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Bitter Pill

The latest question from Family Forum about the cost of pharmaceutical drugs.

QUESTION:

I’ve just recently became a pensioner with a health card. I thought all prescriptions were charged at $6.10 per script. Why is it that I was charged $12.92 for a named brand of Amlodipine? I went from a generic brand that is hard to divide in two to Pfizer’s Norvasc. I was told that it was a government charge. Is this correct or have I been duped by the pharmacy?

ANSWER: 

You have not been duped. Every year pharmaceutical companies submit, to a Federal government committee, evidence on how well their drugs work and what they propose to charge. The committee decides which company’s drug will be on the list of subsidised drugs and these will only cost pensioners $6.10. The same drug made by another company can still be sold for a cost that the maker determines, plus a mark-up for the chemist. For Pfizer’s Norvasc this comes to $12.92.

As you are having difficulty with dividing the subsidised form of Amlodipine, I suggest you buy (from your chemist) a pill cutter at a modest charge. Then you can purchase the $6.10 Amlodipine and cut them in half.

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