No pricing cuts to PBS in Budget
The fact that the 2011 Budget had no PBS price-related savings measures, as per the Memorandum of Understanding between Medicines Australia and the Government, is welcome.
The MoU, which was signed in May 2010, was the result of tough negotiations between the Government and industry, and delivered savings to taxpayers, savings to consumers and process improvements to the PBS.
Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said: “In respect of delivering savings to the PBS, the MoU is working well and this week’s Budget is testament to that. The MoU provides a good framework for managing the PBS agreed between the Government and industry.
“However, while we appreciate the Government respecting the provisions of the MoU, we strongly disagree with the Cabinet’s decision to block the listing of new medicines on the PBS, which contradicts the intent of the MoU.”
In February, Federal Cabinet deferred indefinitely the PBS listing of seven new medicines and a vaccine which had been recommended for listing by the Government’s own committee of clinical and health economics experts.
Dr Shaw welcomed the eventual decision to subsidise in the Budget the pneumococcal vaccine catch-up for children that had been delayed by Cabinet since February.
“This is a good decision, but we hope the Government will list all other deferred medicines as soon as possible,” Dr Shaw said.
Medicines Australia also applauds the support of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by the Leader of the Opposition in his Budget Reply speech to the House of Representatives last night.
Tony Abbot said in his speech: “We won’t turn the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from a demand-driven to a budget-limited scheme by not listing drugs that have passed an expert cost-effectiveness test.”
Mr Abbott’s comments reflect the importance of maintaining the integrity of the PBS processes.
Medicines Australia also welcomes the Greens’ support for the timely PBS listing of medicines that have been recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert noted in a recent media release about the Cabinet’s decision to defer PBS listings:
“This will have significant implications for Australians trying to access these medicines.”
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