New Parliament should pass PBS savings Bill

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw today welcomed the inclusion of the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme) Bill 2010 on the first bills list of the 43rd Parliament.

The legislation will enable the implementation of $1.86 billion in savings from the PBS.

Dr Shaw urged all political parties to support the Bill and ensure its enactment at the earliest opportunity.

“This legislation is supported by the 50 member companies of Medicines Australia who account for 86 per cent of the PBS,” Dr Shaw said.

“This is a common-sense Bill that will benefit taxpayers, patients and industry. It will ensure a stable and sustainable PBS and it merits the support of the Parliament.

“These reforms will reduce the price the Government plays for older, off-patent medicines. That will reduce the prices patients pay by as much as $5 per script each month.

“This legislation will ensure Australians will pay less for commonly used medicines to treat heart disease, asthma, depression, cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.”

While the Australian Government pays 20 per cent less than the OECD average for new, patented medicines, the prices it pays for older, off-patent medicines are high by international standards.

“Driving savings from a competitive generics market is the key to ensuring the PBS is sustainable in the long-term,” Dr Shaw said.

The National Health Amendment (Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme) Bill 2010 is part of a broader package of reforms that will ensure a more efficient PBS for all Australians.

“These reforms, which are currently being implemented by the Department of Health and Ageing, in consultation with Medicines Australia, will reduce the time it takes for new medicines to get on to the PBS,” Dr Shaw said.

“As part of the medicines agreement signed with the Commonwealth earlier this year, the processes of registering a new medicine with the TGA, and listing it on the PBS will be able to run concurrently rather than sequentially. That should mean quicker access to medicines for ordinary Australian patients, and potentially saving lives.”

The agreement also includes a commitment by the Government to ensure medicines requiring Cabinet approval prior to PBS listing are reviewed by the Cabinet within six months of being recommended for listing by the PBAC.

“This is an agreement that delivers Australians a much better PBS,” Dr Shaw said.


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