The financial contribution made by patients towards dispensed medicines prescribed by Australian dentists from 2006 to 2018: A cost-analysis study

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Abstract

Objective This cost-analysis study explored Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data to determine the financial patient contribution (PC) towards dispensed medications prescribed by dentists and temporal trends in cost contributions. Methods For this study we used the PBS online dataset and only included concessional data in the analysis. Data on dental medications dispensed under the PBS from 2006 to 2018 were accessed. For all medicines aggregated to different pharmacological categories (antibiotics, analgesics and opiates, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants and anti-emetics, and emergency medications), a temporal trend was generated using annual PC data. Cumulative patient and mean annual PC data were also generated in a similar manner. Results Cumulative PC over the study period for dental PBS prescriptions was A$28 783 361 (A$5.55 per dispensing). The mean annual PC for dental PBS was A$2 214 105 (for the entire concessional population from 2006 to 2018), with a statistically significant and strong correlation between year and PC (Dental PBS, A$59 756 per year; r = 0.98: P < 0.0001). Antibiotics represented the highest proportion of PC (87.8%), whereas the lowest proportion of PC was for emergency medications (e.g. adrenaline, atropine, glucagon, naloxone), which amounted to 0.003%. Conclusions This study highlights the increasing contributions made by patients towards antibiotic prescriptions. What is known about the topic? Australian dentists can independently prescribe subsidised medications as per a set scope for general and specialist dentists, regulated under the PBS with requisite adherence to specific legal requirements. What does this paper add? This is the first study highlighting the increased level of patient financial contributions towards dental medicines, according to different pharmacological categories, dispensed by pharmacists in Australia. What are the implications for practitioners? This study creates a base for future research assessing the appropriateness of the PBS subsidy and the PBS Safety Net threshold, possibly reassessing the out-of-pocket pricing on brand substitution and appropriately reassessing the current dental PBS schedule.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Health Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2020

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