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Govt still wants to hike cost of drugs

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Belinda Merhab

Federal government plans to make patients fork out an extra $5 for prescription drugs are still on the table, a Senate committee has heard.

Health department secretary Martin Bowles confirmed on Wednesday the government still wants to increase the co-payment patients pay for medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

General patients already pay a co-payment of $38.30 for medicines while concessional patients pay $6.20.

The government wants to lift the co-payment by $5 for general patients and 80 cents for concessional patients.

Mr Bowles said the policy from the 2014/15 budget would remain on the table until alternate savings were found.

He also confirmed the government still intended to freeze Medicare rebates until 2020 - a move doctors warn will force patients to pay more to see their GP.

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