New Govt figures show PBS growing at just 1.6%

The latest Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing’s annual review of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme shows that the program grew by just 5.2 per cent in 2010-11 – or 1.6 per cent in real terms.

This follows yesterday’s MYEFO, showing lower PBS growth this financial year.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today the new data irrefutably demonstrates that public spending on the PBS is well under control.

“This is fresh and compelling evidence that the PBS is in good shape,” Dr Shaw said.

“The Government’s own figures show that real growth is minimal. I urge Government to stop and look at this data carefully as it frames the 2012 Federal Budget.

“These latest figures convey a very clear message: PBS spending is under control and is not presenting the Government with any fiscal challenge.

“If anything, there is probably a good case for increasing investment in the PBS. If the figures get much lower, there would be grounds for concern that the Government was not investing enough in patient access to medicines.

“The Government’s own Intergenerational Report projected that the PBS as a proportion of GDP will be flat right out to 2020.

“Now the Department of Health’s expenditure report also points to a sustainable PBS with extremely modest spending growth that is not much above inflation. And MYEFO is forecasting PBS spending to be $1.8 billion lower than expected.

“We know that the medicines deferred by Cabinet in February had next to no impact on these numbers, given the small costs involved.

“Instead, these figures provide further evidence that the Government’s PBS policies together with the Medicines Australia-Australian Government Memorandum of Understanding are allowing the PBS to provide innovative medicines to patients while keeping the PBS on a sustainable footing.

“Given the slow growth of the PBS, the MoU and expected future price reductions, it is hard to see how any further cuts to the PBS can be good policy.”

Expenditure and prescriptions twelve months to 30 June 2011 is available from the Department of Health and Ageing website (please follow link)


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