Government opts for additional consultation on National Medicines Policy (NMP) Review

24 March 2022: The Government has heeded the calls from Medicines Australia, patient groups, health bodies, and industry by extending the finalisation of the National Medicines Policy (NMP) Review until after the Federal election to allow further and more detailed consultation with stakeholders.

Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer, said the deferral decision by Health Minister Greg Hunt follows weeks of advocacy and direct discussions with the Minister and his office.

“We congratulate Minister Hunt for continuing his long-held practice of listening to stakeholders and having the courage to make bold decisions that are in the best interests of good health policy and the health of Australian patients,” Ms de Somer said.

“The NMP affects all Australians.

“Reforming and modernising the NMP, to keep pace with rapidly evolving scientific and medical advances, is too important to be rushed. It is central to the health of the nation – now and into the future,” she said.

Rare Cancers Australia CEO and Chair of the National Oncology Alliance, Richard Vines, agreed that more time and consultation is needed for patient groups.

“The NMP tells us how every Australian can access and use medicines, vaccines, and treatments. This is an extremely important document that has an impact on all of us, especially patients. We must get this right.

“Our thanks to Minister Hunt for allowing us the time to not only update the NMP but ensure that there is widespread agreement within the community on the vision it presents.

“A refreshed, future-focused NMP can provide the framework to enable the best outcomes for Australians living with serious diseases like rare cancers, now and into the future,” he said.

Ms de Somer said that stakeholders have supported the intent of the Review since it was announced by the Morrison Government in 2019.

“The NMP has held us in good stead for more than 20 years,” Ms de Somer said.

“The commitment to the Review demonstrates the Australian Government’s appetite to prepare our health system for the future.

“We thank Minister Hunt for his engagement with stakeholders and patients.

“The announcement of additional consultation time will place the NMP Review on a productive, collaborative path forward and we look forward to continuing our contribution.”

-ENDS-

For further information or media interviews, please contact:
Medicines Australia: Chrystianna Moran – 0424 995 118 / chrystianna.moran@medicinesaustralia.com.au
Medicines Australia: John Flannery – 0419 494 761 / john.flannery@medicinesaustralia.com.au
Rare Cancers Australia: Casey Virgin – casey.virgin@rarecancers.org.au

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Read the media release from Minister Hunt about the NMP Review pause

BACKGROUND:

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MEDICINES POLICY REVIEW

Published in 2000, Australia’s National Medicines Policy (NMP) is a framework that aims to deliver positive health outcomes for all Australians through their access to, and appropriate use of, medicines.

The NMP guides the range of activities encompassing medication management, access, and affordability of medicines in Australia through a partnership approach between all sectors.

The Review of the NMP (the Review) was commissioned by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, in recognition of the substantial changes to the health landscape since the policy was implemented.

The Review has been led by an Expert Advisory Committee established by the Minister for the Department of Health. The Committee is chaired by Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd AM.

Its members include Professor Lloyd Sansom AO; Mrs Janette Donovan; Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin and Mr David Herd. This Committee has brought expertise across medicines policy, clinical practice, consumer engagement, and the pharmaceutical industry to the Review.

The Committee undertook a 12-week period of public consultation that commenced on 30 August 2021 and concluded on 17 November 2021. The public consultation process included a call for public submissions, and bilateral interviews and virtual group discussions with selected stakeholder organisations. The Committee also held a virtual stakeholder webinar forum in December 2021 to present the key themes from the consultation process.

The Review Committee received 156 written submissions and consulted with 194 representatives across 135 organisations through its program of meetings and virtual group discussions.

Further information about the consultation, including the Discussion Paper, can be found here: https://consultations.health.gov.au/technology-assessment-access-division/national-medicines-policy-review/.

ABOUT MEDICINES AUSTRALIA

Medicines Australia leads the research-based medicines industry of Australia. Our members discover, develop and manufacture prescription pharmaceutical products, biotherapeutic products and vaccines that bring health, social and economic benefits to Australia. Our members invest in Australian medical research and take local discoveries and developments to the world.

Our mission is to drive policy outcomes in partnership with government, health sector organisations and the community which will ensure Australians have universal, affordable, and fast access to treatments that keep pace with advancements in medicine.

ABOUT RARE CANCERS AUSTRALIA

Rare Cancers Australia Ltd (RCA) is a charity whose purpose is to improve the lives and health outcomes of Australians living with rare and less common (RLC) cancers.

RCA has a number of key areas of focus: Creating a Patient Community, Advocacy, Patient Support Programs, Fundraising, Treatment & Research along with Early Diagnosis.