Industry calls on Government to save the PBS

Medicines Australia has called on the Australian Government to save the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) by delivering stable policies that support the medicines industry and ultimately Australian patients.

“Medicine Australia’s pre-Budget submission sets out six measures that will protect the PBS for future generations,” Medicines Australia Chief Executive, Dr Brendan Shaw, said.

“It also outlines what measures are needed to maintain a viable and thriving medicines industry, which last year generated over $4 billion in exports, and invested over $1 billion in research and development for the fourth consecutive year.”

The submission details the significant savings to the Australian Government achieved through successive rounds of reforms in 2007, 2010 and 2013.

“The PBS reforms have secured an enduring savings mechanism through price disclosure. The work has been done,” Dr Shaw, said.

“Importantly, these reforms, delivering up to $18 billion in savings, were achieved through collaboration between government and industry. As a result, the cost of the PBS is actually falling, in stark contrast to the rest of the health system.”

Furthermore, the submission calls on the Government to work with industry to improve the listing of new medicines on the PBS over the life of the next Parliament, and to continue to reform and improve Australia’s intellectual property policies and laws.

“The key issue now is that it is becoming harder and harder for new medicines to get listed on the PBS and provided to Australian patients in a timely manner. We can do better than this and we have to,” Dr Shaw said.

“The PBS only contributed 10% of the total growth in Federal Government health spending over the last decade.

“The considerable savings being realised provide ample scope for this Government to fund new and innovative treatments as they become available.

“Despite the challenges we have faced and the losses incurred, Medicines Australia believes that a stable policy framework between government and the industry is the best way to ensure the future viability of the PBS.

“There’s a real opportunity here for the Australian medicines industry to help build manufacturing and R&D in Australia if we can get predictable, supportive policies in place in areas like PBS policy, innovation and intellectual property.”


  1. Commit to PBS policy certainty and to maintain access to medicines
  2. Commit to no new PBS savings measures in the 2014-15 Budget
  3. Use savings in the PBS to secure new and innovative treatments into the future
  4. Continue agreed measures within existing arrangements as ongoing policy settings for medicines, and work on process improvements and expansion to new areas as necessary
  5. Stimulate global competitiveness in Australian pharmaceutical innovation, retain a commitment to clinical trial reform and settle global concern in Intellectual Property rights
  6. Strengthen confidence locally and globally in Australian taxation policy

Medicines Australia’s Budget submission can be found here


Contact Person:

Alexia Vlahos
Phone: (02) 6122 8503