Last updated on 16/05/2024


Asthma Australia welcomes the Federal Budget announcement freezing the maximum PBS patient co‑payment, which will cap the cost of some asthma medicines as cost-of-living pressures continue.

Under the Budget measure, no PBS-subsidised medicine will cost more than $7.70 for concession card holders or pensioners for the next five years. For anyone else, they will pay no more than $31.60 for PBS medicines for the next 12 months.

Asthma Australia Interim CEO Doris Whitmore said, “Asthma impacts more than 2.7 million people in Australia and the majority of asthma medicines are listed on the PBS.

“Preventers are used by many people with asthma to manage their condition and the most commonly dispensed preventers attract the maximum co-payment. A price freeze on those asthma medicines at the top of the co-payment scale is welcome at a time when many other costs are rising.

“A person with asthma using a preventer daily may go through six to twelve inhalers each year, and the costs add up when multiple members of a family have asthma. We also know many people with asthma have other health conditions that place further stress on household budgets.

“While savings are small, over time they can add up for a family or individuals using multiple medicines. The freeze also offers concession card holders and pensioners peace-of-mind that no PBS medicines will increase in price for a five-year period.”

Asthma Australia says the biggest cost relief for people with chronic health conditions like asthma will result from 60-day dispensing.

“Unfortunately, people with asthma are yet to receive any cost relief for their preventers under 60-day dispensing as the rollout for these medicines won’t begin until September. We ask the Government to consider bringing forward 60-day dispensing for asthma preventers so that people who have achieved control of their condition through their use might benefit from this policy and income saving.”

More Urgent Care Clinics welcomed, opening hours should meet community expectations

Asthma Australia welcomes the Federal Budget announcement of $227 million toward an additional 29 urgent, bulk-billed care clinics, which will help take pressure off emergency departments and make it easier for people with asthma to access urgent care.

Ms Whitmore said “Urgent Care Clinics may help people with asthma experiencing an exacerbation who can’t access their GP promptly or need urgent or out-of-hours care. They will help take pressure off emergency departments, where close to 39,000 people with asthma present every year.

“While we welcome the measure, it is vital these clinics are open 7 days a week and during the hours people need to access them, which is between 8am-10pm.”

Research into health inequities welcome, but lack of commitment to respiratory health and childhood asthma questioned

Asthma Australia welcomes the announcement of funding for a new research mission to reduce health inequities. Asthma is a chronic health condition that is linked to low-socio-economic status.

Ms Whitmore said, “We support funding to address the factors that increase the risk of asthma development and exacerbation. A health inequities approach can identify and address common factors that are currently leading to disproportionate burdens of ill health among priority populations.

“We look forward to exploring how the new research mission may address health inequities in childhood asthma in particular but are disappointed that our call for a dedicated round of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) investment in childhood asthma has not been included.”

Asthma Australia is also disappointed that there still isn’t a dedicated respiratory health research mission, especially since we have had a respiratory pandemic, smoke pollution crisis, and a mould epidemic over the last few years.

Climate-resilient, healthy homes missing from 2024 budget

Ms Whitmore said “We were also hoping to see more investment in making Australian homes climate-resilient and more healthy through electrification and retrofitting programs that prioritise social housing.

“People with asthma are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts like bushfires and floods which can increase exposure to hazards like smoke and mould. It is vital that people with asthma can take shelter in homes that have healthy indoor air quality and temperatures.”


For more information:
Contact Trinity Frederick, 0413 992 282