Medicines Australia’s response to the 2024-25 Federal Budget

14 May 2024: The healthcare measures announced in the 2024-25 Budget show a move towards preventive care and wellbeing to ease pressure on Australia’s health system.

“The investment committed in the 2024-25 Budget to Medicare, screening programs, research, mental health, clinical trials, new PBS listings and programs to keep ageing Australians out of hospital will greatly benefit many people,” Medicines Australia CEO Liz de Somer said.

“As Australia faces the pressure of an ageing population, reduced productivity and growing Medicare costs, we must change our thinking about medicines and view the PBS as an investment in wellbeing, rather than a cost.”

“Access to medicines has a direct link to the economy and to productivity, as evidenced in the recent Productivity Commission report that found advances in cancer treatments have been one of the major drivers of productivity growth.”

“Bold PBS reform to accelerate patient access to the best medicine available will deliver step change in preventive care. The faster that patients can access new medicines through the PBS, the faster they will recover. This means fewer visits to the doctor, fewer hospitalisations and immediate, tangible impacts on the whole community.”

Clinical trials

The previously announced commitment of $62 million to support clinical trials and a further $18.8 million to progress the National One Stop Shop is welcomed by industry and is a significant step towards improving access to medicines for all Australians.

“Australia plays a vital role in the research and development of new medicines through clinical trials. The investment by Government into creating a single system for accessing clinical trials and harmonised processes will benefit patients and ensure Australia remains globally competitive as a research and development destination,” Ms de Somer said.

“As the Government focuses on a future made in Australia, it’s important that we do not inadvertently create an unfavourable environment for the launch of new medicines and medical technologies that Australians have contributed to developing.”

Health Technology Assessment reforms

The absence of any announcements about the Health Technology Assessment review is not cause for concern, given the report only went to the Minister last week.

“Delays that occurred throughout the review period meant that we did not expect any announcements about HTA reform,” Ms de Somer said.

“We know reforms will take time to implement and require forward budget planning. The Medicines Australia roadmap of reforms outlines a 3-year plan that balances the opportunities for fast wins for patients and the more complex reforms that will require legislative change.”

“Funding should not prevent or delay stakeholders coming together to commence codesigning reforms, and Medicines Australia calls on the Minister to release the HTA report and commit to the next steps towards reform implementation.”

“Patients had to wait more than two years from the House of Representatives inquiry for the New Frontiers report to be released. The HTA review has now taken over a year. Patients cannot keep waiting. We need to get on with reforming the system to accelerate access.”

“We know that a stronger PBS will deliver savings in other areas of the health system and increase productivity. Australia needs a system that delivers equitable access to the latest medical technologies within 60 days of TGA registration.”

Media enquiries to Kate McKeown, Senior Manager Communications and Media – or 0408 775 288.