AIHW results validate MA findings

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) latest report Cancer in Australia 2017, is a welcome validation of the importance of pharmaceutical innovation for cancer survival rates.

The report shows that while cancer is a major cause of ill health in Australia, and more cases are being diagnosed, death rates have continued to fall since the 1980s, and incidence rates have also decreased in recent years.

The report estimates that over 134,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia in 2017- an average of 367 diagnoses each day and 2.8 times as high as in 1982.

The findings is a significant indicator of the value of investment in preventative health and innovative medical interventions. Its data backs up a recent study commissioned by Medicines Australia that identified that listing innovative medicines on the PBS had a significant impact on cancer survival rates.

In a report commissioned by Medicines Australia in 2015, American health economist Professor Frank Lichtenberg also estimated how medicines listed on the PBS affected cancer survival. The five year survival rate for all cancers in Australia increased from 49% to 62% between 1986 and 2007. An estimated 40% of this improvement is the result of new medicines listed on the PBS. In the absence of new medicines, the five-year survival rate would have been 57% in 2007.

Medicines Australia Chief Executive Milton Catelin commended AIHW on its critical research.

“Modelling such as that undertaken by AIHW and Medicines Australia identifies just how important it is to invest in a strong health system and the listing innovative medicines on the PBS plays a fundamental role in that,” said Mr Catelin.

“Research shows that investing in innovative medicines not only improved lives it makes the economy more productive and actually delivers significant savings in overall health costs, especially in our hospitals.”

“How Australia’s healthcare system is managed, including the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), is a key factor in Australia’s future and this report should provide the Government with further validation that listing innovative medicines on the PBS is an astute investment, particularly when you think about the productivity and economic gains associated with improving health outcomes,” he said.


CONTACT: Natalie Wimmer – Communications Manager – 0450728660