Govt tables further evidence that PBS is sustainable

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report on reform of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme released by the Government last night is fresh evidence that the PBS is sustainable and that the reforms are working.

The report finds that the PBS will grow by just 5.99 per cent a year out to 2018.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said: “This report provides further evidence that the PBS is sustainable and that the are working. Last week’s Intergenerational Report reached the same conclusion. This is another vote of confidence for the PBS.

“A key point of these reforms was to ensure taxpayers didn’t pay over the odds for older, off-patent medicines. Price cuts over the next couple of years will significantly lower prices for those older drugs.

“But for new drugs, Australia already pays the lowest prices in the developed world. Effectively, Australian taxpayers are getting new medicines 20 per cent cheaper compared to the OECD average.

“Australia will certainly face higher health costs as the population ages, but the PBS has an important role in offsetting those costs. The PBS is actually part of the solution.

“The PBS is not only providing Australian patients with universal access to the best medicines when they are needed, it is also offsetting other healthcare costs by keeping patients out of the hospital system.

“The conclusions of the Intergenerational Report last week point to a sustainable PBS that will not grow as a proportion of GDP at least out to 2020

“The IGR Report corroborated separate studies commissioned by Medicines Australia and by the Pharmacy Guild which both arrive at the same conclusion that the PBS is in good shape, is well managed and is sustainable into the future.

“Price cuts from PBS reforms will deliver $6 billion in savings to the public purse over 10 years. That is $3 billion more than what the Government had banked on. Effectively, the industry has delivered taxpayers an unexpected windfall of $3 billion.

“Of course the PBS will continue to grow. Patients will welcome ongoing investment in a program that ensures they will have access to effective medicines when they are needed.

“However, we recognise that growth needs to be managed and I urge the Government to work with the industry to arrive at a shared understanding of projected growth and an agreed view of what manageable growth might be.”


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