BENDIGO Liberal candidate Darin Schade and incumbent Labor MP Lisa Chesters are at odds over the two major parties' initiatives to reform the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS).
Part of the National Health Act 1953, the PBS subsidises medication for Medicare holders for a range of illnesses.
On Sunday, the coalition announced its plan to cut the PBS by $10, meaning the maximum price Australians will pay for PBS medicines drops from $42.50 down to $32.50.
Mr Schade said by listing new medications on the PBS, the Coalition were ensuring Australians have access to affordable, life saving medications that would otherwise cost thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, without subsidy.
"There is a clear choice at this election," he said.
"Australians can vote for a stronger economy under the Liberal Government, who always delivers affordable medication and cost of living relief, or a weak economy under Labor, who stopped listing medicines on the PBS in 2011 because they cannot manage money."
However, Ms Chesters said the coalition is playing campaign politics at the cost of people's health.
"The Liberals have had a decade to reduce the cost of seeing the doctor or getting medicines but they have waited until an election campaign to deal with this issue," she said.
"Labor will reduce the maximum copayment under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from $42.50 to a maximum of $30, a reduction of 29 per cent," Ms Chesters said.
"Under Labor's proposal a person taking one medication a month could save $150 a year, with those taking two medications a month saving up to $300 each year."
At this stage, opinion polls point to a Labor victory at the incoming federal election, however three weeks out from election day, a large group of voters remain undecided.
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