Patients to pay price for two-year merry-go-round

Patients are no closer to gaining access to new stroke prevention medicines following the publication today of a Government review of anticoagulants, despite one medicine being reviewed and recommended by the Government’s expert committee for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme more than 650 days ago.

Instead, after a subsequent Cabinet review and an additional, unexpected 18 month review, the Government has referred that review’s report back to the independent expert committee which made the original recommendation for listing of Pradaxa on the PBS ….. for review.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today that the process was a two-year bureaucratic merry-go-round.

“This is bureaucracy gone mad and it’s ordinary patients who are paying the price,” Dr Shaw said.

“The Government’s expert committee reviewed Pradaxa almost two years ago. The Government then ordered a review of that decision. Now it’s demanding a review of that review. This has been a two-year bureaucratic merry-go-round that has got to stop.

“Essentially we’re having a review of a review of a review. It raises serious questions about bringing new medicines on to the PBS.

“If this is a prototype for listing new medicines on the PBS, it’s a debacle. It undermines confidence in the PBS listing process.

“This medicine was recommended for PBS listing more than 650 days ago and patients still don’t have access to it. That shouldn’t be acceptable to the Australian public.

“Patients should not have to wait this long to have access to a medicine that has already been deemed cost-effective by an independent expert committee.

“Australians with atrial fibrillation are most likely to be seniors who are least able to afford the cost of new medicines without the help of the PBS.

“This medicine has been available globally for over a year, including in New Zealand where it was made available by their Government. Yet Australian patients do not have that same access.

“We shouldn’t be a country that can’t afford new medicines.

“Delays like this should never be allowed to happen again.”


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Jamie Nicholson
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