PBS cuts will undermine commercial certainty

The Federal Government’s decision to cut its investment in the PBS will undermine commercial certainty for Australia’s pharmaceutical industry Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers warned tonight.

The announcement of further savings measures in the Federal Budget will cost the industry $175 million over five years.

“Australia’s pharmaceuticals industry is already confronting a very challenging operating environment. Now the Government is extracting savings from Australian healthcare companies at the very time when it should be investing in this industry.

“Implementation of this proposed measure will likely result in declining revenues and job losses.

“Medicines Australia had already agreed to the Government’s 2007 PBS reforms, which were designed to deliver pricing certainty and stability in exchange for massive price reductions already being implemented. This measure undermines that certainty.”

While Mr Chalmers acknowledged the constraining fiscal circumstances in which the Budget was delivered, he said: “These cuts will place an additional financial impost on the industry at a time of considerable uncertainty for Australian pharmaceutical companies. The measure is regrettable.

“Notwithstanding our disappointment at these cuts to the PBS, I do recognise the extraordinary economic context in which this Budget has been framed. I also accept that the Government was faced with some extremely tough choices in having to offset an unprecedented shortfall in public revenues.

“It is important that Medicines Australia is able to engage in constructive dialogue with the Government as early as possible. It is critical to ensure the implementation of these cuts occurs in a way that Australian pharmaceutical companies can manage, and that patient access to essential medicines is not impaired.

“We will work closely with Government to investigate ways in which the impact of these measures on the industry can be ameliorated and to ensure there are no unintended consequences for patients.”


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