Journal article

Measuring the Progressivity of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Rachel J Knott, Philip M Clarke, Emma L Heeley, John P Chalmers



Through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Australian Government subsidises the cost of a large range of medicines. This study assesses the income-related distribution of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme resources using patient-level data from Medicare Australia and concentration indices. We find that use of, and government expenditure for, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme-subsidised drugs is progressive in that more resources flow to lower income groups, even after adjusting for differences in medical need, as measured by age, sex, self-assessed health and clinically assessed comorbidities. Of the major drug classes, cardiovascular drugs contributed substantially to the overall progressivi..

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Awarded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Funding Acknowledgements

The authors thank the general practitioners and patients who participated in the study. The AusHEART study was conducted as a collaborative project between the George Institute for Global Health and Servier Australia. Rachel Knott's PhD studies were partly funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Capacity Building Grant (571372). Philip Clarke holds an NHMRC Career Development Award.