Landmark funding and long-term certainty for innovative medicines for Australian patients, the community and the economy

Medicines Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s landmark step to introduce a guaranteed PBS new medicines funding commitment within the 2020 Budget – heralding a new chapter of greater certainty for Australian patients in accessing new, innovative medicines.

The new medicines funding guarantee, worth at least $2.8 billion over 4 years, starts immediately and removes the requirement for cost offsets for new medicine listings on the PBS.

This commitment not only brings a hopeful future for Australian patients, their families and carers, it also represents a critical measure for Australia’s economic recovery – by enabling the adoption of new and transformative advancements for Australia’s overall health needs.

At the same time, a 7-year future path for the innovative medicines industry is now underway with a framework agreed with the Government for a new 5-year Strategic Agreement, commencing from 2022. The fundamental priorities within this framework underpin the establishment of an Agreement that builds a positive long-term future for innovation in health.

“It is fantastic to see the government investing in innovation and new medicines with $2.8 billion of dedicated new funding. This recognises that a healthy community is required to maintain a healthy economy,” states Dr Anna Lavelle, Chair Medicines Australia.  “The Government’s commitment to invest in innovative medicines within their unprecedented overall Budgetary health measures to address COVID-19, while also stimulating the economy, must be congratulated.  Maintaining an innovation focus that supports Australia’s health is a fundamental strategy to our recovery.”

“We have worked tirelessly with Government through COVID-19 and will continue to do everything we can to get the nation back on track,” adds Elizabeth de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia. “Against this unprecedented global event, we have a unique opportunity to build a clear seven year path with a new and collaborative based Strategic Agreement that will allow our innovative capabilities to be maximised bringing significant therapeutic advances – including cell and gene therapies – to patients alongside the critical vaccines and treatments urgently needed for COVID-19.

“Our priority will be to lock-in the next Strategic Agreement for the May 2021 Budget– with a focus on supporting the PBS architecture, improving important HTA process measures and securing certainty and predictability for the innovative sector,” continues Ms de Somer.

In additional measures announced within the Federal Budget, an important move to streamlined monthly rebate payments will be introduced into the medicine supply chain by 2021 instead of the previously proposed Supply Chain reform.  There will also be a commitment to unique identifiers for medicines within the supply chain to improve access and patient safety.

“The supply chain has been under the spotlight with COVID-19 and these new measures will introduce important advancements to current processes,” states Ms de Somer.  “In addition, the Government’s commitment to maintain the transformation in health delivery seen with COVID-19, including home delivery of medicines, telehealth and digital reforms to the TGA are all extremely important measures.”

“The agreed framework signals an important shift and new partnering with Government where the fundamental importance of new medicines to the community has been firmly acknowledged,” adds Dr Anna Lavelle. “We believe a very important chapter in innovative medicine and health has begun that builds upon the substantial collaboration over the past 3 months and leads a very strong trajectory of new therapeutic pipelines, research and ultimately jobs.  We take this responsibility extremely seriously and will commit fully to the tasks ahead.”

Additional facts on the innovative medicines industry

  • The innovative medicines industry contributes about $8.9 billion to the Australian economy and accounts for about 22,000 jobs1
  • Clinical trials contribute $1.1 billion each year to our economy 2
  • Clinical trials generate 16,500 Australian jobs3
  • Everyone million invested in clinical trials creates 15 jobs and adds $1.37 million to GDP4

For further information please contact Natalie Wimmer on 0450 728 660 or Anne-Marie Sparrow on 0417 421 560.

References:

  1. The economic contribution of the innovative pharmaceutical industry to Australia Economic footprint of the innovative pharmaceutical industry. February 2018
  2. MTPConnect (2020). Retrieved 17 August 2020 https://www.mtpconnect.org.au/Story?Action=View&Story_id=59
  3. (2020). Retrieved 17 August 2020 https://gradaustralia.com.au/career-planning/an-introduction-to-the-pharmaceutical-industry-for-graduates
  4. AusBiotech Ltd. (2020). Retrieved 17 August 2020 https://www.ausbiotech.org/programs/clinical-trials