Senate Estimates clearly confirms PBS expenditure flat

Medicines Australia CEO Tim James has welcomed the Department of Health’s confirmation that PBS growth was negligible for the 2013-14 financial year.

Appearing before Senate Estimates last night, senior Departmental officers confirmed that the PBS only grew $150 million last year, to $9.15 billion – a growth figure well below the rate of inflation.

“This latest data just confirms what Medicines Australia has been pointing out for a long time,” said Mr James.

“The tough price disclosure reforms the medicines industry developed and agreed with government over the past eight years are paying off, with massive ongoing savings for taxpayers and consumers.

“The rest of the Health portfolio may not have made the tough decisions to bring costs under control, but the PBS is flat as a pancake. There is clearly fiscal room to get new medicines listed quickly for Australian patients.”

Last night’s evidence follows a raft of Budget figures and independent reports confirming that PBS growth is negligible for the foreseeable future.

The 2013-14 Final Budget Outcome, released in September, included a fifth successive write down in PBS expenditure, of $168 million. It showed the PBS costing 14%, or $1.7 billion, less than the Government forecast it would in 2011.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also reported in September that total Australian Government health expenditure fell in 2012–13, with the PBS acting as one of the main drivers of that decrease.

In August, the Parliamentary Budget Office forecast growth in PBS spending will slow to 0.3 per cent annually out to 2024-25.

“With PBS expenditure confirmed as stable and sustainable, now is the time to ensure we improve access to the latest lifesaving medicines,” Mr James said.


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