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Billions could be saved as drug prices fall

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The price of more than 120 medicines subsidised by the Federal Government will drop from today, saving some patients up to $12 per prescription.

Under the terms of price disclosure arrangements introduced by the previous Government, the cost of 121 medicines included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits

Schedule has fallen from today, potentially saving the taxpayer up to $20 billion by 2018, according to the pharmaceutical industry.

Among the price cuts, the cost of the widely used cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin has dropped more than $5 a script to $14.99, while the price of anti-fungal treatment fluconazole has fallen by a third, from $36.90 to $24.25.

In addition to the price cuts, 10 medicines used to treat a range of illnesses including cancer, lung infections and arthritis have today been added to the PBS, providing a further financial boost to patients.

The newly-listed medicines include HIV drug dolutegravir (sold as Tivicay), colorectal cancer treatment panitumumab (Vectibix), giant cell bone tumour medicine denosumab (as Xgeva), a drug to treat arthritis in children (toclizumab, sold as Actemera) and the powder form of bacterial lung infection treatment tobramycin (Tobi Podhaler), commonly used by cystic fibrosis patients.

Adrian Rollins