Commission of Audit puts Australian patients in danger
Speaking at today’s Future of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Summit, Medicines Australia’s Chief Executive, Dr Brendan Shaw, made it clear that the National Commission of Audit’s recommendations, if accepted and implemented by the Government, would effectively end the PBS as we know it.
“Australian patients should be worried about the recommendations around the PBS set out by the Commission of Audit on Thursday,” Dr Shaw said.
“These recommendations would lead to Australians missing out on medicines, or having to wait even longer for new medicines to treat things like cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and rare diseases, which is a danger to all patients.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration that patients are actually in danger if all these recommendations around the PBS were implemented.
“It would choke access to the pipeline of innovative new life-saving and life-enhancing medicines that Australians rightfully expect to receive.
“And it would almost certainly lead to the end of the Australian medicines industry, with flow-on of the billions of dollars in exports it generates, and the thousands of highly-skilled jobs it creates.
“When it comes to PBS policy, the best thing the Government can do with the Commission of Audit’s report is quietly put it to one side and focus on what’s happening in the real world.
“We’ve seen examples where governments have tried to enforce draconian systems on the pharmaceutical market without letting the market decide what an efficient and effective price should be.”
“Over the past seven years the industry has made the tough decisions needed, in collaboration with Government, to forgo profits from old medicines in favour of bringing new ones forward,” Dr Shaw said.
“This has directly led to the PBS Budget plateauing, and last year actually dropping by 3.5%.
“What we need from government is a stable, predictable, and efficient business operating environment to make sure the future of the PBS continues to provide all it can to the Australian people.
“So the news that the Health Minister, Peter Dutton, has re-invigorated the Access to Medicines Working Group is welcome and vital.
“I congratulate Minister Dutton on this initiative and we look forward to working with him to improve Australians access to new medicines in the future.
“We want to ensure in a decade from now, that every Australian is able access life-saving medicines in a timely manner. So now is the time to support the PBS, not slash it to pieces.
“For all of these reasons, we urge the Government not to implement this system in Australia, for the sake of the Australian industry and Australian patients.”
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