One of the great benefits of living in Australia, is that we do have some significant supports for people who really need them. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is one of those. I really love the PBS.
Most of our prescription medication is subsidised - everyone, whether they realise it or not, has access to discount medication just by being Australian and having a Medicare card. That's why medications generally cost in the range of $30 to $40, when they might otherwise cost much, much more. That's the general coverage of the PBS.
For those of us on pensions, or other low incomes, our medications are already subsidised more - and most of my prescription medications are between $5 and $6. Given how many medications I take, this is a huge blessing!
Thanks to the Safety Net of $336 spent on PBS medications through the year, I've now reached the point where I receive PBS medications free until the end of December. I have a couple of medications not on the PBS, and things like the bucket-loads of fish oil capsules the rheumatologist wants me to take aren't even prescription drugs, so I will still have to pay a bit at the Chemist's but this will make things much easier. (For people without a concession card a Safety Net of $1318 would allow them to receive their prescription medicines at the concession price - and then a further $336 would allow them to have free medicines.)
For those of us for whom a trip to the chemist requires as long a shopping list as a trip to the supermarket, the PBS is a life-saver. Without it, I know I would simply not be able to afford all of my medicines. I imagine other people in my situation would have the same problem.
If you want more information about the PBS, what medications are covered, etc, check out their official website: http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/about-the-pbs