Just released National Medicines Policy sets high ambitions for better health outcomes for all Australians

20 December 2022: Medicines Australia congratulates the Government on the release of the much-anticipated National Medicines Policy (NMP), after a comprehensive review process with stakeholders.

CEO of Medicines Australia, Elizabeth de Somer, said the refreshed NMP affects every Australian and sets the ambitions for our healthcare system to provide fair, timely, reliable and affordable access to high-quality medicines, vaccines and treatments.

“The release of the new NMP signals the end of a comprehensive consultation process and the beginning of a collaborative partnership to deliver on those ambitions for all Australians,” Ms de Somer said.

“The NMP incorporates a bold vision statement ‘To achieve the world’s best health, social and economic outcomes for all Australians through a highly supportive medicines policy environment.

“Importantly, the new NMP includes modernised language that emphasises the need for good public medicines policy to ensure that the patients and the people it serves are central to the ambition.

“This is the first time the NMP has been updated in over 20 years and we now have a chance to establish this document as foundational for all Australians, and to prepare Australia’s health systems for the next health crisis.

“The pandemic has shown us that collaborative efforts across the health ecosystem can deliver wide, positive health outcomes. All Australians should have timely and equitable access to high-quality, safe, and effective medicines and health services, regardless of their background, age, or any other factor.

“It is encouraging to see a focus on fairness and access, especially to support improving the longstanding health disparities experienced in the community, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Medicines Australia also supports the inclusion of some explanation on governance and responsibilities, but we would hope to see further clarification on these areas to provide proper monitoring and evaluation measures.

“The addition of a regular, five-year review and update of the NMP is also a significant commitment from Government and we look forward to ongoing consultation to ensure the NMP keeps pace with rapidly evolving medicines and new technologies so that Australia does not get left behind.

“The release of the NMP will support the further reforms to health policy including the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review in 2023 to speed up access to innovative medicines and technologies for Australian patients.

“We look forward to supporting the implementation of the NMP to ensure Australians and the next generations have equitable, fast and affordable access to innovative medicines, vaccines and therapies that will save lives and change lives,” Ms de Somer said.

What is the National Medicines Policy (NMP)? Watch this short explainer video.


For further information or media interviews, please contact:
Chrystianna Moran – 0424 995 118 / chrystianna.moran@medicinesaustralia.com.au


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 then-Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, originally in 2019 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. 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.

The Committee undertook a 12-week period of public consultation that commenced on 30 August 2021 and concluded on 17 November 2021. The Committee also held a virtual stakeholder webinar forum in December 2021 to present the key themes from the consultation process.

The then-Minister for Health deferred the NMP Review in March 2022 until after the May Federal Election following calls from a wide range of stakeholders who asked for more consultation and consideration time.

The new Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Mark Butler MP, restarted the Review in August 2022, re-convened under the Review Chair, Professor Michael Kidd AM. This was followed by another consultation period and the new draft released was much more considerate of views from stakeholders.

Further information about the consultation, including the Discussion Paper, you can view it here: https://consultations.health.gov.au/pbs-subsidy-taskforce/national-medicines-policy-revised-consultation/.