Top 10 drugs 2016-17

The December issue of Australian Prescriber has published the top 10 drugs prescribed in Australia by volume and cost for 2016-17.

The cholesterol-lowering medicine atorvastatin is the most commonly used medicine in Australia. A high percentage of the population is prescribed it to lower their cardiovascular risk. Rosuvastatin, another statin for lowering cholesterol, comes second in terms of volume.

Also on this year’s list are perindopril, amlodipine and ramipril – medicines generally used for the treatment of high blood pressure.

“The statistics suggest how chronic conditions are being managed by health professionals in Australia,” Australian Prescriber editor Dr John Dowden said.

“Medicines are only part of the solution. Lifestyle changes are an important part of the management of conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”
Medicines used to treat hepatitis C continue to dominate the list of top 10 most expensive drugs, with medicines for cancer and autoimmune conditions also appearing.

“We are seeing a continuation of the trend of recent years that the drugs with the highest cost to the PBS aren’t necessarily the most frequently prescribed medicines,” Dr Dowden said.

The top 10 drugs for the year are documented from July 2016 to June 2017. The figures are based on PBS and RPBS prescriptions from the date of supply. This year’s figures include prescriptions under the co-payment (non-subsidised).

The capture of co-payment data probably explains why drugs such as amoxicillin, which were previously absent, now appear in the top 10 by prescription count.

To see all tables follow this link: