Fresh cuts to the PBS are bad news for patients

Today’s announcement by the Government of three measures to further cut its investment in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme undermines the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to bring new medicines to Australian patients.

“The Government’s decision to create three new therapeutic groups, contained in today’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook is effectively an unannounced price cut,” Medicines Australia’s acting chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said.

“It is a substantial blow to companies who have negotiated a fair price in good faith with the Government.

“Last week Victoria University published a major report which concluded that the PBS is sustainable, is one of the most affordable, efficient and effective parts of the health system and requires no further savings measures.

“The measure announced today appears to disregard that evidence.”

The creation of new therapeutic groups effectively lowers the price that the Government pays manufacturers for certain new medicines.

The prices the Australian Government pays manufacturers for new medicines are already the lowest in the OECD.

“Reimbursement prices to manufacturers in Australia are already 19 per cent lower than the OECD average,” Dr Shaw said.

“The Australian Government has a responsibility to pay a fair and reasonable price by OECD standards. The pharmaceutical industry does not expect the Government to pay over the odds, but industry doesn’t expect to be short-changed either.

“At some stage there must be a tipping point where companies will think twice before seeking PBS listing for new medicines.

“Changing the agreed parameters for PBS reform without sufficient warning removes the policy certainty on which companies rely to make their business decisions. This is at odds with the intent of PBS reform.

“The PBS listing environment is becoming increasingly discouraging for global companies making investment decisions about whether or not it is viable to bring new medicines to Australia. That is ultimately bad news for patients.”


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