ASMI, the association of the Australian Self-Medication Industry, WSMI’s member association in Australia, has launched a new study on the value of OTC medicines in Australia. The study, commissioned by ASMI and undertaken by Macquarie University, provides the first evidence of the contribution that the OTC medicines sector makes to Australian society and the economy.
The study found that each dollar spent on eight categories of the most common OTC medicines saves the health system over four dollars. Overall, the availability of the eight categories of OTC medicines produces savings of approximately $10.4 billion, made up of $3.8 billion in direct costs associated with visits to general practitioners (GPs), as well as $6.5 billion in indirect savings associated with lost productivity. If the eight categories of OTC medicines were not available, there would be an estimated 58 million additional GP visits for people to obtain their medication.
The study also looked at the potential future benefits that could derive from increasing consumer access to medicines through down-scheduling or switch from prescription to non-prescription medicines. The study showed that if a group of 11 prescription medicines was down-scheduled to Pharmacist Only, the health economy would save an additional $2.1 billion. This could be equated to the avoidance of 17 million doctors’ visits.
Professor Mark Gabbott, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, said: “The access people have to OTC medicines plays a vital role in keeping them well and helping them to work and function, and it also has a very significant impact across the broader economy.”
Click here to download the OTC Value Study.