PBS can help Government hit productivity target

Ongoing investment in a sustainable and cost-effective Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will help the Government achieve its goal of lifting productivity, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

Dr Shaw was responding to today’s launch by the Treasurer of the Third Intergenerational Report.

“We all recognise the very real challenges of population growth and ageing,” Dr Shaw said. “The onus is on the healthcare sector and the Government to work together towards a solution that allows Australia to manage the economics of an ageing population.

“The Government has rightly identified productivity growth as the key to managing an ageing population.

“Medicines can make an important contribution to increased workforce participation and productivity. Today, pharmaceutical interventions are helping keep people out of hospital and in the workforce, or helping them get back to work after illness more quickly.

“Investment in pharmaceuticals will help drive long-term economic growth. It is an investment in human capital in the same way as expenditure in education.”

Dr Shaw said Australia’s pharmaceuticals industry was already making a major contribution towards ensuring the PBS remained sustainable.

“The major reforms of 2007 that were designed to ensure a sustainable PBS are working,” Dr Shaw said.

“Those price cuts will deliver the Australian taxpayers a $6 billion efficiency dividend over 10 years.

“In relative terms Australia is already paying the lowest prices for new medicines of any OECD country. Effectively, taxpayers are getting new medicines at a 20 per cent discount to the OECD standard.

“It’s certainly important for the PBS to be sustainable, but pricing models must be sustainable for the companies who research and develop these new therapies.”

Dr Shaw also acknowledged the importance of value for money in the health system highlighted in the IGR.

“It is critical that all areas of health expenditure are subjected to a rigorous cost-effectiveness analysis to ensure taxpayers know that they are getting value for money from every health dollar,” Dr Shaw said.


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