April PBS Data Shows Spike in Demand

There was a sharp rise in overall scripts processed in April compared to the same time last year, with particularly high demand for respiratory medicines

Newly released data shows there was a nearly 20% increase in PBS/RPBS scripts processed in April 2020 compared to April last year.

According to Services Australia, there were 18.6 million scripts processed this April compared with 15.6 million scripts in April 2019.

Demand for respiratory medicines increased, with 1.3 million services processed for these medicines in April 2020 compared to 808,669 in April 2019.

There was also a similar increase for the respiratory category in March.

Services for cardiovascular PBS/RPBS medicines remained the same when comparing March this year with last, but rose from 4.8 million scripts in April 2019 to 5.6 million in April 2020.

February and March data from Services Australia did not reveal the same large surge in demand across total PBS/RPBS scripts.

However the Services Australia figures relate to the volume of PBS and RPBS services that have been processed by the agency. Month is determined by the date the service was processed by Services Australia, not the date of supply by the pharmacy, and therefore the April PBS statistics also capture some dispenses from late March.

MedAdvisor, an electronic management platform used by 60% of Australian pharmacies, saw a 20% spike in dispenses over March compared to the same month in 2019.

MedAdvisor CEO Robert Read said: “The 20% increase we saw in dispenses over the month of March shows just how hard pharmacists were working to keep up with demand.”

He added that numbers are returning to normal through April and into May.

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Source: , viewed 28 May 2020.