Medicines Australia welcomes ALP commitment to PBS

Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers today welcomed the ALP’s commitment to maintain and improve the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The commitment was made as part of Labor’s New Directions for Australian Health policy, which was announced by Labor leader Kevin Rudd and Opposition Health Spokesperson Nicola Roxon.

“I welcome the ALP’s recognition of the importance of maintaining and improving the PBS,” Mr Chalmers said.

“I applaud any announcement that will address healthcare management holistically.

“In evaluating PBS expenditure, it’s important to look at the benefit in terms of health outcomes as well as the short-term cost. What is often regarded as a cost to the Commonwealth is in fact a saving for States.

“Innovative medicines 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. In short, they help people lead longer, better and more productive lives.

“I applaud any measure that that more effectively integrates healthcare provision.  The PBS should be seen not as a liability, but as an investment that offsets the cost of chronic disease.

New Directions for Australian Health estimates the annual financial cost of cardiovascular disease and obesity in Australia at $14.2 billion and $21 billion respectively. Innovative medicines have the capacity to significantly offset that cost.

“Labor is to be commended for looking at ways of dealing with the pressures of the increasing cost of health care.”

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Jamie Nicholson
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Phone: 0419 220 293