Medicines and vaccines central to prevention

The Federal Government must heed the contribution of innovative medicines and vaccines to preventative health, Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers said today.

Mr Chalmers said the Preventative Health Taskforce Report provides the Government with a robust framework to tackle the health issues of obesity, smoking and alcohol, but underplays the role of pharmaceuticals.

“Innovative medicines and vaccines have a central role to play in supporting the Government’s key health priorities of preventative health, chronic disease management and easing the strain on the public hospital system,” Mr Chalmers said.

“While non-pharmaceutical interventions such as exercise and diet can be effective means of disease prevention, there are various cost-effective prescription medicines that can play a key role in the battle against obesity and alcohol and tobacco addiction.

“The Taskforce has flagged vaccines and mental health as the focus of its next review.

These are two areas where pharmaceutical intervention is absolutely central and Medicines Australia looks forward to contributing to this important piece of work.”

Mr Chalmers urged the Government to rigorously assess the cost-effectiveness of the preventative health initiatives included in the report.

“The Taskforce has made some bold recommendations to reduce preventable disease,” Mr Chalmers said. “I encourage the Government to consider applying a cost effectiveness assessment to all of the initiatives outlined in the Report to ensure implementation of these recommendations deliver value for money.

“This is crucial in an environment where the Government is determined to drive maximum value from every health dollar.

“Minister Roxon rightly emphasised the importance of reducing pressure on the hospital system by keeping people healthy and out of hospital. Innovative medicines and vaccines help control health care costs by preventing the need for care at public hospitals, shortening stays in hospitals where they are required and relieving the costs of other institutional care.

“I commend the Taskforce on this report and I look forward to working with the Government to help guide its implementation, particularly with regard to quality use of medicines strategies.”


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