Decision Maker Response

Greg Hunt’s response

Feb 28, 2017 — Vitamin B12 injections were removed from general availability on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 January 2016, following a recommendation from the independent expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

The removal of these OTC medicines from PBS general availability is supporting the ongoing integrity and sustainability of the PBS, and is allowing the government to list essential and life-saving medicines which carry a higher cost to consumers such as Kalydeco® for cystic fibrosis. Kalydeco® is being listed on the PBS for 2 – 5 years olds from 1 May 2017. Without government subsidy this treatment would cost each patient around $300,000 per year.

When purchased without a prescription, the cost for the same PBS quantity (box of 3) of Vitamin B12 injections should be very similar to the PBS concessional co-payment of $6.30. However, pharmacies are private businesses so the price may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. Should you have concerns about the cost of your medicine, we recommend discussing this with your doctor, or compare prices at different pharmacies.