Technical Notes

  • The scope of the study is restricted to ex-serving members with at least 1 day of service since 1 January 2001, who were discharged after 1 January 2001 and before 1 July 2017.
  • The results for this report are restricted to PBS/RPBS dispensings between the period 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 (2017–18).
  • A dispensing, or dispensed medication in this report refers to a pharmaceutical benefit dispensed under the PBS or RPBS.
    • DVA cardholders (White Cardholders especially), may have medications dispensed under both the RPBS and the PBS.
  • For this report, information available on costs for dispensings under the co-payment threshold are derived on a theoretical value as listed in the Schedule. These are likely overestimates as any discounts to the costs of medications dispensed have not been applied within these data.
  • Averages reported for government costs include dispensings that were under the co-payment threshold. Any dispensing that is under the co-payment threshold will have no associated government costs.
  • The cohort for this study is contemporary ex-serving members with at least 1 day of service after 1 January 2001. DVA Orange Cardholders are out of scope for this study. Orange Cards are only available for World War 1 and World War 2 veterans, aged 70 and over who have been Australian residents for a minimum of 10 years.
  • PBS/RPBS claims and under co-payment data excludes some programs subject to alternative arrangements (Section 100) where patient level details are not available, for example, direct supply of medications to Remote Aboriginal Health Services https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pbs-indigenous). Section 100 programs are established where distribution arrangements are considered appropriate. More details can be found here:
    http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/about-the-pbs#Section_100_programs.
  • The PBS/RPBS do not cover medicines supplied to public hospital in-patients, over-the-counter medicines or private dispensings.
  • Due to the potential for differences in the types of medication used as a result of an individual’s age and sex, caution should be used when making comparisons between different population groups, for example, between ex-serving cohorts, and between contemporary ex-serving members and the Australian population.
    • Results presented in this report for the Australian population have been age-sex standardised to account for these differences, see Methods for more information on how standardised rates have been calculated.
    • Similarly, results available in the accompanying interactive data visualisations and in the supplementary tables are stratified by age and sex to help understand any differences occurring at this level.
  • PBS/RPBS data contain administrative information on medications dispensed according to medication type and name. The data do not contain information on clinical diagnoses.
  • The PBS/RPBS does not capture data on prescriptions written by an authorised health professional that are not filled by the patient.
  • The total number of dispensings includes repeats that have been supplied to the patient.
  • As PBS/RPBS data refer to dispensed medications, it is not possible to determine how much of these pharmaceuticals were used. A person may use some, or all of their dispensed pharmaceuticals, or none at all.
  • Some of the results are based on small numbers (fewer than 100 people), and caution should be taken when interpreting these findings, as results based on small numbers can be sensitive to small changes in numbers over time.
  • Rates of pharmaceutical use for contemporary ex-serving members are calculated using the total number of ex-serving ADF members with at least one day of service since 2001 in the population as at 30 June 2017 who were alive and discharged from the ADF at this time.
    • Cohort specific rates calculated for DVA cardholders, other concession cardholders and general beneficiaries are based on estimates of the underlying populations for each of these groups, see Methods for more information.