97 per cent of Aussies want new cancer medicines subsidised through PBS

New findings released by Newspoll [i] shows overwhelming support for access to new cancer medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), for Australian patients.

Newspoll found 97 per cent of Australians strongly support the subsidisation of cancer medicines for curable cancers, including 95 per cent supporting medicines that ease symptoms and extend the life of patients with terminal cancer.

These findings coincide with a new White Paper – Improving access to cancer medicines – released by the Cancer Drugs Alliance (CDA), launched today.

Medicines Australia CEO, Tim James, said these findings further reiterate what the Australian people want from the health system, which is fast access to the best new treatments.

“The CDA White Paper provides significant insights into the Australian community attitudes regarding the importance of access to and the value of medicines. This comes at a time when Australia is lagging behind other countries in terms of access to medicines, as was reported in the COMPARE report, which was launched last week,” Mr James said.

The independent analysis presented in the COMPARE report shows Australia ranks 18th out of 20 comparable OECD countries, only above New Zealand and Portugal.

“The Newspoll findings and CDA White Paper show that Australians want and expect access to new medicines. The COMPARE report demonstrates we are not getting them as quickly as other comparable OECD countries, and in some case we are not getting them at all. It’s time to take action,” Mr James said.

“These reports come at a time of increased scrutiny of access to new medicines in Australia, with a Senate Committee currently inquiring into the availability of new, innovative and specialist cancer drugs in Australia.

“We need a system that is fit for purpose now and into the future; and we need the emphasis to shift from the cost of medicines to the value they provide in keeping the Australian population healthy, participating and productive.”

Medicines Australia COMPARE report is available at https://medicinesaustralia.com.au/policy/publications/compare/.

  1. [i] Community Perceptions of Cancer Treatment Research Report. Nationwide Newspoll omnibus of n=1,214 respondents aged 18 years and over conducted between 12 to 14 December 2014 about perceptions of government subsidisation of medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


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