PBS co-pay delay to cost millions: Dutton

The government has suffered a budget hit after conceding it won't be able to introduce increases in the pharmaceutical co-payment by January.

Labor is costing taxpayers $20 million a month by delaying increases in the co-payment for subsidised medicines, Health Minister Peter Dutton claims.

Along with its $7 charge to see the doctor, the government wants to increase the PBS co-payment by $5 for general patients and 80 cents for concession card holders.

The measure was due to start in January but opposition from Labor, the Australian Greens and the crossbench in the Senate mean the government won't be able to meet the deadline.

The PBS increases were expected to raise $1.3 billion over four years and Mr Dutton says the delay will cost millions.

"I'd say to the Labor party in particular but to the crossbench senators, that delaying this particular budget measure costs the government and the Australian taxpayer about $20 million a month," he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Dutton said the coalition would press ahead with legislation for the PBS co-payment, and he was confident of gaining crossbench support in 2015.

The government spent $9.3 billion each year on the PBS, and its cost continued to grow, he said.

"We have to get a reasonable balance in place," he said.

But Labor said a hike in the PBS co-payment was "unfair policy" that would lead to some patients not taking their medicine.

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