Health Front and Centre of Economic Recovery

Canberra, 11 May 2021: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg places the nation’s health, wellbeing and recovery from COVID-19 front and centre of tonight’s 2021-22 Federal Budget.

As we continue through this global pandemic, Medicines Australia and the innovative pharmaceutical industry recognise the $1.9 billion commitment the Government has made in this Budget to COVID-19 vaccines, together with $1.5 billion for COVID-19 related health services.  

An investment of $43 billion for new and amended PBS listings over four years is an investment worth making. This includes $878.7 million announced in the current budget, reflecting the Government’s commitments for the first year of the New Medicines Funding Guarantee. New medicines on the PBS, coupled by a reinvestment of savings into innovative treatments will secure our health and economic recovery.

We also acknowledge the Government’s crucial investment to support the overall health of Australians with a specific focus on women’s health ($354 million). This includes initiatives addressing endometriosis, genetic screening and prevention of pre-term births; a very significant commitment to improve aged care services ($17.7 billion) and notably $2.3 billion for mental health services and suicide prevention.

“This Federal Budget recognise that health is the key to our economic recovery,” states Liz de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia. “We recognise the significant investment in the COVID-19 vaccine response and listing new advances in medicines. Our highest priority will be to partner with Government and remain at the forefront of our nation’s recovery and protecting Australians in the future.”

The industry recognises the Government’s focus on critical areas of manufacturing, patent protection and the PBS:-

  • Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme: We recognise the significant new PBS listings including lexipag (Uptravi®) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension; Dulaglutide (Trulicity®) for type 2 diabetes mellitus; Dupilumab (Dupixent®) for severe atopic dermatitis; Romosozumab (Evenity®) for severe osteoporosis; Progesterone (Oripro®) to prevent premature labour; Galcanezumab (Emgality®) for chronic migraine.
  • Manufacturing: We are pleased to see a $1.5 billion commitment to expand manufacturing in areas including medical products and clean energy. This will support further growth in the sector, which improves health outcomes for Australians as well as providing highly-skilled jobs and valuable exports.
  • Clinical Trials: While we welcome a $10.4 million commitment to clinical trials over 4 years, we firmly believe more needs to be done to ensure we maximise this significant local capability to facilitate further advancement of our health ecosystem, support further research jobs and secure early access to medicines.
  • Local New Patent Box: Supporting local patents in Australia with a reduced tax rate of 17% from 1 July 2022 for the medical and biotech sector represents a critical step in protecting local innovation.
  • Stem Scholarships: $42 million for scholarship for women in STEM over 4 years in partnership with industry is an important commitment.

While we are making progress in supporting innovation, further action is required in ensuring we activate reform to support access to innovative medicines for the benefit of patients and to drive Australia’s economic growth. Every time a new innovative medicine is made available in Australia, there are tangible flow-on benefits for patients, community, economy and Government.

We now look forward to the important task of finalising a reinvigorated, patient-centric five-year Strategic Agreement (commencing 1 July 2022) that delivers greater long-term access to medicines and vaccines for both industry and Government and patients now and into the future. This work is crucial to Australia’s economic recovery and in ensuring patients have access to new medicines and therapies when they need them.

CEO Liz de Somer gives her initial reactions to the 2021-22 Federal Budget

For media enquiries and interview opportunity with Liz de Somer, Chief Executive Officer, Medicines Australia please contact:

Jasmeet Kaur
Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
Medicines Australia