PBS decisions need greater consumer input

Consumers and the community should be more involved in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listing process that determines which new medicines are subsidised by the Government, Medicines Australia acting chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

Dr Shaw was responding to a new report released this week by international consulting firm Deloitte – Enhancing Consumer Involvement in Medicines Health Technology Assessment. The report was commissioned by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

“Medicines Australia supports greater community involvement in the Government’s process for evaluating medicines for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,” Dr Shaw said.

“Australia must continue to work towards greater consumer and community involvement in the evaluation process, in line with international best practice.

“A number of developed countries have moved to better involve patient, carer and community evidence in the development of national medicines policies and the appraisal of new products.”

The report finds that Australian consumers and the community have less involvement in the process than countries such as England, Canada and Scotland.

“This timely report has a number of important recommendations about how community and patient input into the health technology assessment process can occur and be improved,” Dr Shaw said.

“We are working with the Federal Government and consumer groups to help position Australia at the vanguard of health technology assessment globally.”

The issues raised in the Deloitte report are among those canvassed by Medicines Australia in its submission to the Federal Government’s Health Technology Assessment Review currently underway.

Medicines Australia and the Government agreed to explore ways to enhance patient involvement in the PBS listing process as an outcome of their Joint Medicines Policy Conference in 2008.


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