IVF Reforms – July 2015

The Australian Federal Government recently announced changes to the existing IVF/GIFT program that manages access to fertility medicines for eligible Medicare card holders.

In the past, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) absorbed the full cost of certain fertility medicines. From 1 July the PBS requires patients to make a contribution towards the cost of their medicines (which are still significantly subsidised by the PBS.

Click here to learn more about the IVF Reforms.

What are the changes starting 1 July?
The current supply process IVF/GIFT medications will cease on 30 June 2015. From 1 July your IVF specialist doctor will be required to write a special PBS for you to be able to receive your medications. Your IVF prescriptions will then be dispensed by a pharmacist.

 

Where can I get my IVF prescriptions dispensed?
Your IVF prescription will need to be dispensed by a pharmacist.

 

Will all pharmacies stock IVF drugs?
Any community pharmacy can theoretically dispense medicines under the new prescription supply process. Patients are free to choose any pharmacy to have their IVF medicines dispensed.

 

In practice, due to the volume of stock required, the cold chain requirements and the support products such as sharps containers, swaps, cooler bags etc., that accompany IVF medications, only a few specialist pharmacies are likely to keep supply on hand.

 

City Fertility is working with Slade Pharmacy to ensure medications will be conveniently available to City Fertility patients. Slade Pharmacy has more than four years of experience working with IVF clinics and supplying medications and patient information to IVF clients.

 

Are there maximum quantities allowed for each drug?
Yes. Each drug will have its own maximum PBS quantity. Details of the respective maximum quantities will be detailed in a prescriber reference ‘cheat sheet’.

 

Will there be repeats allowed on these prescriptions?
No. There are no repeats allowed on the IVF streamlined authority medications. If further drug supply is required an additional script will need to be written.

 

Will there be a cost to me under the new system?
Under the new system patients will be required to pay the PBS co-payment for each prescription. The PBS general co-payment for 2015 is $37.70. The PBS co-payment will count towards a patient’s Safety Net entitlement.

 

Is there any change to the supply of non-PBS (non-subsidised) medicines?
There will be no change for medicines that are ineligible or do not qualify for PBS subsidy, in that patients will continue to pay full price.

 

If I have already started my IVF cycle and need additional medication, how will I receive this?
Patients who have received fully-subsidised (‘free’) IVF medications as part of their treatment cycle prior to 1 July will require a prescription from their IVF specialist to obtain additional supplies. Supply made on prescription through pharmacies will cost $37.70.