Skip to Content

Programme 2.3: Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Benefits


Under Programme 2.3, the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) provides entitled beneficiaries with access to a comprehensive array of pharmaceuticals and wound dressings for the treatment of their healthcare needs, including those items available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).


In 2013–14, DVA maintained a comprehensive RPBS Schedule that meets the health care needs of entitled beneficiaries and is consistent with trends in the delivery of healthcare services.

The Department supported programmes that enhance veterans’ access to quality pharmaceutical care, including the Veterans’ Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (Veterans’ MATES) Program, and provided relief to veterans in meeting the costs of pharmaceuticals through the Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme (VPRS).

The use of the RPBS again decreased in 2013–14 in line with the decline in the treatment population. However, this was offset by the use of higher-cost medications. The overall reduction in expenditure is the result of the combined effect of the declining population and the mandatory price reductions under the PBS and the flow through to the RPBS.


Administered and Departmental expenses – Programme outcomes against Budget
  2013–14 PBS ($M) ESTIMATED ACTUAL 2013–14 ($M) OUTCOME 2013–14 ($M)
Administered 414.9 406.2 397.8
Departmental 1.7 1.7 1.3
Total resources 416.6 407.9 399.1

PBS = Portfolio Budget Statements


Deliverables – Programme outcomes against Budget projections
  2013–14 PBS ESTIMATED ACTUAL 2013–14 OUTCOME 2013–14
Treatment population 211,000 215,900 217,562

PBS = Portfolio Budget Statements

Key performance indicators

Key Performance Indicators – Programme outcomes against Budget target
  2013–14 PBS Estimated actual 2013–14 Outcome 2013–14
Price: Unit cost per cardholder 7 7 5

PBS = Portfolio Budget Statements

Report on performance

The Commonwealth subsidises a range of pharmaceuticals under the RPBS. Items available under the scheme are generally those medicines listed on the PBS that are available to the broader community. In addition to PBS-listed medicines, veterans have access to an extended range of medicines and wound dressings as listed in the Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. Payments to pharmacy providers are made through arrangements with the Department of Human Services (DHS) on behalf of DVA.

Administered expenditure for pharmaceutical items (cash basis)

In 2013–14, expenditure under the RPBS was $397.9 million, a 5.7 per cent decrease on 2012–13.

This decrease is due to the combination of a continuing decline in the treatment population and the specific price decreases under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme price disclosure arrangements that flow through to the RPBS.


The unit cost of $5 per cardholder in 2013–14 was below the estimate, and below that for 2012–13. This was mainly the result of a reduction in the cost of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Number of pharmaceutical items dispensed

The number of RPBS-listed items dispensed in 2013–14 was 12.35 million, a decrease of 0.24% per cent from 2012–13.

Percentage of treatment population using the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

In 2013–14, 91 per cent of the treatment population accessed the RPBS, an increase of 1 per cent on 2012–13.

Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme

The Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme (VPRS) reimburses eligible veterans for out of pocket costs associated with the concessional pharmaceutical co-payment.

In March 2014, the second payments under the VPRS were made to approximately 39,000 eligible veterans. The total payment was approximately $4.7 million with an average payment of $119 per eligible veteran.

Average: 1 (3 votes)