Response to the Grattan Institute Report on medicine prices

Medicines Australia does not accept the findings of this latest inaccurate, selective and misleading Grattan Report on medicine prices.

Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is the envy of the world because of its ability to provide universal access to breakthrough innovative medicines and generics at tremendous value for taxpayers and affordable prices for Australians who need them.

Medicines Australia Chief Executive Milton Catelin said the latest Grattan report relies on a tiny sample of medicines that have no correlation to the system wide savings being generated through years of PBS reforms.

“Unfortunately, the Grattan Institute and the authors of this report demonstrate little regard for how the PBS works and its benefits to the Australian people,” said Mr Catelin.

The report also ignores the multiple PBS pricing policies that frequently adjust medicine prices across groups of medicines used for the same condition.

The Grattan Institute has a history of misleading reporting on medicine prices in Australia. They persistently ignore ongoing, significant reforms to medicines price policies, including the ability to change prices six times per year, not two, as claimed.

Readers of the report would think the highly successful price disclosure measure has failed, in fact, it is expected to continue to deliver several billions of dollars of ongoing savings in the coming years.

A recent study undertaken on behalf of Medicines Australia by Prof. Frank Lichtenberg (University of Columbia) found that the last three decades of investment in new medicines is saving Australian and state governments around $7 billion a year in hospital costs.  Another economic study, soon to be released, has modelled the significant economic and budgetary benefit of investing in the latest medicines.

For Australia to continue to receive these benefits it needs to maintain and invest in the PBS, not diminish Australia’s ability to deliver a world best practice health care system.

Medicines Australia will continue to engage and partner with government to ensure that the Australian people are getting fast, universal access to the latest medicines at a price that delivers incredible value for money to taxpayers.


Natalie Wimmer
Phone: (02) 6122 8500