New Government must fix PBS listing system

Medicines Australia today launched its 2013 Federal Election document, calling on all sides of politics to fix deficiencies in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and restore confidence in the process that makes new medicines available to patients.

Launching Medicines Now: the 2013 Federal Election, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said patients were already missing out on some new medicines because the PBS listing system had become too difficult.

“The PBS listing process needs to be reviewed and fixed urgently because patients are missing out on new medicines,” Dr Shaw said.

“We have now reached the point where companies are simply unable to make some new treatments available on the PBS.

“We have treatments for melanoma and rare diseases where the sponsoring companies have abandoned plans to list on the PBS and other treatments for prostate cancer, melanoma and stroke prevention that have been recommended for listing but are still awaiting funding.

“It’s absurd that melanoma treatments that are freely available in countries like Poland and Belgium are not available in Australia, the melanoma capital of the world.

“We have a medicine for Pompe’s disease is publicly funded by governments in Greece, Cyprus and Italy, but is not publicly funded in Australia.

“The bipartisan intention of PBS reform has always been to use savings from older medicines to fund new medicines, to avoid a situation where the wealthy can afford new medicines by paying full price for them, but other Australians go without because those medicines are not being subsidised on the PBS.

“The process for PBS subsidy is getting more difficult, more complicated and more unpredictable. Australia’s a wealthy country and we should be able to afford medicines for sick people.

“I call on a future Government to restore transparency, certainty and confidence to the PBS listing process and ensure all Australians have timely access to the treatments they need.”

Medicines Australia’s election document also calls on an incoming government to commit to listing all medicines recommended by the Government’s expert advisory committee, to strengthen intellectual property provisions, ensure a predictable and stable business environment, and encourage investment in the medicines industry.

Medicines Now: the 2013 Federal Election is available here


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