Push for GP software to default to generics

In a submission to the Senate enquiry into out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare, the Australian Institute (AI) proposed two measures to reduce the estimated $1.3-$1.7 billion patients spent on GP visits plus brand premiums on medications and diagnostic testing in 2012–13.

It also recommended an update of the 2008 Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on the negative impact of costs on access to health services before any decision was made to charge a standard co-payment for GP visits.

To drive down expenditure on generic medications, the AI wants to see GP software set to automatically prescribe by active ingredient rather than by brand name except where the ‘no brand substitution’ box is checked. 

“Automatically prescribing medications by their active ingredient would reduce reliance on consumer awareness of generics and incentive payments to pharmacists with cost savings for individuals and the government,”

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