About the data - Polypharmacy, 75 years and over
Data are sourced from the PBS dataset, which includes all prescriptions dispensed under the PBS and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS), including under copayment prescriptions.
Data used in this report exclude doctors’ bag items and any programs with alternative supply arrangements (section 100 of the National Health Act 1953) in which patient-level details are not available, such as direct supply to remote Aboriginal health services.
The PBS and RPBS do not cover medicines supplied to public hospital inpatients, over-the-counter medicines or private prescriptions.
The dataset does not allow analysis by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.
Rates are based on the number of people dispensed five or more different medicines per 100,000 people aged 75 years and over in 2018–19.
To be counted, a medicine must have had four or more prescriptions dispensed for it in the year.
Medicines are counted as distinct if the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical codes differ at the fourth level.
Patient count analysis reflects the number of unique patients that qualify according to the polypharmacy specification.
The analysis and maps are based on the patient’s post code recorded in their Medicare file and not the location of the prescriber or the dispensing pharmacy.
Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.
Some data have been suppressed to manage volatility and confidentiality. This process takes into account the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements for reporting PBS data (see the Technical Supplement). Data suppression for this item has been notably marked for remote areas of the Northern Territory. This is indicated on the maps in grey. Reporting for the Northern Territory was possible at a territory level.
About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations
This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas: