Generic versions of the cholesterol drug Lipitor will be available from April 1.
Generic versions of the cholesterol drug Lipitor will be available from April 1. ©iStockphoto/AndrewJohnson

Cholesterol drug to become cheaper

PEOPLE suffering from high cholesterol will have access to cheaper medicine from April 1.

On that date, the medicine Lipitor will come off the patent, which means manufacturers of similar generic medicine can enter the market.

Lipitor is one of the most widely used drugs in Australia and is only available on prescription.

Kawungan Plaza Pharmacy pharmacist Clive Scotney said Lipitor coming off patent will be the catalyst for the biggest price reductions ever seen under the pharmaceutical benefits.

"The impact of this reform will be extensive and will deliver substantial savings to the government and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the pharmaceutical benefits scheme," Mr Scotney said.

People with a health care card or other form of concession will not be affected by the change.

Others, who require Lipitor but are not eligible for concessions, will enjoy considerable savings.

At the moment, a mid-range dose of Lipitor in a packet of 30 tablets retails for $79.

From January 1, 2012, your patient contribution at the general rate is up to $35.40 for each PBS medicine.

If you have a valid concession card from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) your patient contribution is at the concession rate of $5.80.

All Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors have access to affordable medicines through the PBS.

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