Commission of Audit report flawed on PBS

The National Commission of Audit report released today is a fundamentally flawed analysis of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“The fact is the PBS is sustainable and needs no further savings measures, as demonstrated by the Commission of Audit’s own numbers,” said Medicines Australia Chief Executive, Dr Brendan Shaw.

“Many of the Commission’s recommendations show an ignorance of what’s really happening in Australia and in other countries where these types of policies have been introduced.

“Access to life-saving medicines means Australian patients can afford and receive new medicines coming into the country, but these new medicines may not even make it to Australia if some of the recommendations in the Commission’s report are implemented.

“As well as being dangerous for Australian patients, the Commission of Audit has completely misunderstood the economics driving the pharmaceutical market in Australia.

“The Commission would have been better off spending time talking to cancer patients in New Zealand, Europe and the US who have missed out on cancer medicines because of policies flagged by the Commission.

“A number of the policies recommended by the Commission risk Australia’s access to medicines in the future.”

The Commission has also completely ignored the impact of its recommendations on the Australian medicines industry which contributes $4 billion in exports and $1 billion in R&D.

“If the New Zealand system is implemented in Australia, as effectively recommended by the Commission, you can kiss the Australian medicines industry goodbye,” Dr Shaw said.

“It would also lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and thousands of high-paying, high-skilled jobs.

“We know this because that’s exactly what happened in New Zealand. These types of reforms were introduced there and now there is no longer a manufacturing or research industry in New Zealand.

“If the Government is relying on this industry to drive economic growth, this is not the way to do it.

“Disappointingly, the report has failed to acknowledge the work the industry has done with governments over the years to make the PBS a sustainable part of the health system.

“Some of the recommendations on the PBS suggest the Commission of Audit has been drinking the Kool-Aid.


Contact Person:

Alexia Vlahos
Phone: (02) 6122 8503