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    This section presents information on prescriptions for mental health-related medications. Mental health-related medications reported here cover antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives, antidepressants, and psychostimulants and nootropics—prescribed by all medical practitioners.

    Information for mental health-related prescription is sourced through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). Through both of these schemes, Medicare Australia makes payments to subsidise pharmaceutical products listed in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

    For the period 2014–15, this section presents prescription data for both subsidised and under co-payment mental health-related medications (see the data source section for more information). Trend data for the period 2010–11 to 2014–15 focus solely on the subsidised mental health-related medications because under co-payment data were not available from the Department of Human Services prior to 1 April 2012.

    For further information on the PBS and RPBS and the medications covered by these schemes, refer to the data source section. Related data on expenditure on medications subsidised under the PBS and RPBS are presented in the Expenditure section.


    Key points

    • There were 35.3 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications dispensed (subsidised and under co-payment) in 2014–15. This equates to an average of 9.0 prescriptions per patient in 2014–15.
    • There were a total of 24.8 million prescriptions for subsidised mental health-related medications in 2014–15, which was 7 in 10 (70.1%) of the total number of mental health-related prescriptions.
    • 86.8% of the mental health-related prescriptions (subsidised and under co-payment) were provided by GPs, with 8.0% being prescribed by psychiatrists and 4.6% by non-psychiatrist specialists.
    • Antidepressant medications accounted for 67.8% of total mental health-related (subsidised and under co-payment) prescriptions.
    • Females, those aged 65 and over and those people living in Inner regional areas had the highest mental health-related prescription and patient rates.

    Data in this section were last updated in July 2016.


    The 35.3 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications is equivalent to 1,494.8 mental health-related prescriptions per 1,000 population. These prescriptions were provided to 3.9 million patients, which equates to 165.5 patients per 1,000 population (or 16.6%). Combining these data, there were an average of 9.0 prescriptions per patient in 2014–15 (Table PBS.6).

    About 25 million of the mental health related prescriptions were subsidised for 2.5 million patients, an average of 10.0 prescriptions per patient in 2014–15.


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