About the Medicines Australia Oncology Industry Taskforce
Recently, cancer patients, medical professionals caring for cancer patients, and the medicines industry have expressed concerns about the increasing challenges in gaining timely, affordable and equitable patient access to new cancer medicines via the PBS (e.g. Kefford 2012; Tillett 2013; Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 2013).
The Oncology Industry Taskforce is aware that stakeholders have voiced various concerns, including differences in value perception of cancer medicines among stakeholders, stringent evidentiary requirements for reimbursement, and delays due to Federal Government fiscal measures. There is a clear demand for an informed public debate about accessing new medicines generally, and new cancer medicines in particular.
In response, several member companies of Medicines Australia formed the Oncology Industry Taskforce in late 2012. The companies involved are: AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck Sharp and Dohme, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi Aventis and Takeda. This Taskforce is endorsed by Medicines Australia. Specifically, these companies decided to form the Taskforce against the background of an increasingly difficult reimbursement environment in Australia in relation to cancer medicines:
- 82% of cancer medicines seeking reimbursement on cost-effectiveness grounds were rejected in 2011;
- Up to 50 submissions relating to cancer medicines to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) are expected between now and the end of 2015; and
- There are increasing signs that the Government is looking to further contain spending for medicines.
The Taskforce is keen to work in collaboration with key stakeholders including government, health care professionals and societies, Cancer Australia, and consumer health organisations to improve access to cancer medicines for the benefit of patients.
To begin the dialogue, a few years ago it commissioned Deloittes Access Economics to produce Access to Cancer Medicines in Australia. See below