Moving patient stories highlight opportunities to strengthen our healthcare systems for all Australians

24 June 2021: It was an emotional evening among the nearly 200 in-person and online attendees at Parliament House last night who heard from patients openly sharing their personal stories. Their message was simple: the time is right for evolution.

Patients, advocacy groups, politicians, Government officials and industry representatives came together in Canberra for the event, titled ‘Room for the Patient View’.

Dr Anna Lavelle, Chair of Medicines Australia, said it was wonderful to see patients represented at the event and at the centre of discussions.

“I’m grateful for the willingness of everyone who attended to share their personal experiences with honesty and openness. We have all been touched by illness or disease and at some point, in all our lives, each of us will be a patient. The event highlighted what we can achieve through compassion and unity.”

Medicines Australia CEO, Liz de Somer, reflected on the night the importance of this work.

“Together, we can shape healthcare in Australia to ensure that it is fit for purpose and the future. We must harness this momentum and collectively ensure that all Australians have timely access to treatments and medicine no matter their age, gender, location or background,” she said.

Medicines Australia is the industry peak-body of the research-based medicines industry of Australia.

The forum included discussions about how to include patients earlier in the decision-making process, the value of medicines, better access, and medicines innovation – all of which are currently being considered by a House of Representatives Inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies in Australia.

Jessica Bean, President and Secretary for Patient Voice Initiative and Cystic Fibrosis patient, joined yesterday’s panel discussion focusing on how our health care system can innovate and evolve.

She recently addressed the House of Representatives Inquiry stating, “innovation on its own, without access, is useless for patients.”

“I really hope…that we can build a system that recognises the fullness of patient lives…if there is one thing more heartbreaking than there not being a treatment for your disease, it’s knowing that there is a treatment available and not being able to access it,” she said.

Dr Mike Freelander, the Member for Macarthur and Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, said that a patient’s voice is paramount.

“Too often, the views and needs of the patient are overlooked. Over my many years in medicine, I came to appreciate the significance of the patient perspective – and often in my field of paediatrics, the parents’ perspective.”

“The needs of the patient ought to always come first, and it is crucial that we strengthen our healthcare system to ensure that all patients are provided with a voice.”

“The patient voice should also include the family’s voice. As a paediatrician, I understand the effects of chronic illness upon a child and its effect on the whole family.”

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Photos of the event are available – please email

For further information or an opportunity to interview Medicines Australia Chair, Dr Anna Lavelle or CEO, Liz de Somer, please contact Jasmine Kaur – 0452 303 565 / or Chrystianna Moran – 0424 995 118 /