Restart of National Medicines Policy Review is welcome, but assurances needed over further consultation and feedback processes
18 August 2022: Medicines Australia welcomes the restart of the National Medicines Policy Review, which was put on hold prior to the May Federal Election following calls from stakeholders who sought improved consultation.
Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer, said the restart of the Review showed the Government’s commitment for Australians to have equitable and affordable access to medicines.
“The National Medicines Policy (NMP) affects all Australians, and this is the first time it has been reviewed in 20 years – so we have to get it right,” Ms de Somer said.
“The NMP sets the overarching policy direction for timely and affordable access to medicines for Australian patients, promotes the quality use of medicines, and supports a responsible and viable medicines industry.
“The modernised NMP should ensure Australia’s policy direction meets the needs of today’s modern medicines and is set up to support the arrival of the latest innovative medicines, vaccines, and treatments for Australian patients.
“We are pleased that the latest draft of the revised NMP acknowledges the innovations in medical care occurring now and in the future.
“The NMP Review is the start of a larger reform agenda – including the imminent Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review – that is focused on speeding up access to world-class medicines when people need them.
“The NMP should set the vision for how all Australians, across many diverse communities, access and use lifesaving and life-changing medicines. The Review of the NMP must consult widely and deeply to ensure the needs of these different communities are met.
“In welcoming the restart, Medicines Australia maintains the view that six weeks may not be enough for further meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.
“We also note that the NMP Expert Advisory Committee has not been re-convened to support the Review Chair, Professor Michael Kidd AM.
“We remain committed to ensure the NMP meets its objectives for timely access to safe and effective medicines for all Australians,” Ms de Somer said.
The consultation survey on the new draft NMP is open until 27 September 2022 and will be accompanied by a public forum and targeted consultations with key stakeholder groups. A final report is expected to go to Minister Butler before the end of the year.
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