The ACCC has been alerted to plans by the makers of Panadol Osteo to increase its price by 50 per cent on 1 January 2016.
The Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley said that there are no obvious market changes that justify such a substantial increase.
The increase is not justified even taking into consideration changes to the listing of a small number (15 per cent) of over-the-counter medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which impose no additional administrative or regulative costs for these products.
The proposed changes aim to address inconsistencies in the PBS that see consumers without a prescription purchasing a common over-the-counter medicine such as Panadol Osteo or an equivalent brand for under $5 off-the-shelf or online from many pharmacies, while a concessional patient buying it through a prescription pays $7.52.
The $7.52 cost of a prescription for Panadol Osteo currently includes a $6.10 co-payment and a premium because it is the brand name medicine in the market, despite there being cheaper equivalents available.
Ms Ley said that attempts by the makers of Panadol Osteo to link their proposed 50 per cent price increase to Government regulatory changes without any detail to support their claims can only be interpreted as an attempt to mislead consumers and pharmacists.
Consumers should talk to their GP or pharmacist and shop around for an alternative product if they wish.
There are currently over 30 equally-effective paracetamol osteo alternatives to Panadol Osteo currently registered in Australia.