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One step forward, but PBS deferrals issues remain

Friday, 30 September 2011

Media Release

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw today welcomed the listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme of six medicines that had been deferred by Federal Cabinet since February.

Dr Shaw said the Government’s willingness to negotiate a solution to the problem was encouraging.

However, he said Medicines Australia’s position remained that the deferral of new medicines that have been recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee is bad policy.

“The listing of the six medicines deferred in February is welcome news for patients who have been waiting more than seven months for the Government to make them available on the PBS,” Dr Shaw said.

“The commitments announced by the Government today are a good step forward. We welcome those commitments and acknowledge the consultation process the Government has engaged in.

“However, more work needs to be done. Questions still remain, and there is still no commitment from the Government to consign to the dustbin its poor policy of deferring medicines.

“Deferrals mean patients are denied access to the medicines they need. The policy also creates uncertainty for industry and makes it harder for companies to bring new medicines to Australia.”

In a joint agreement co-signed by Medicines Australia, the Generic Medicines Industry Association, the Consumers Health Forum and the Government, the signatories have committed to continue seeking a satisfactory solution.

As part of that agreement, the Government has committed for the next 12 months not to defer listing medicines that carry an annual cost of under $10 million.

“Medicines Australia and the other signatories have also agreed with Government to discuss possible policy options in the future,” Dr Shaw said.

“We have not agreed to any specific options at this stage over and above what is spelt out in the principles agreement.”

The Government today announced that the PBS listing of another medicine, dabigatran (Pradaxa), which had been recommended by the PBAC, would be referred to the former PBAC Chair, Prof Lloyd Sansom, for further consideration.


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