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Oncology Industry Taskforce

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).

These 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, it commissioned Deloittes Access Economics to produce Access to Cancer Medicines in Australia. The report is the first comprehensive assessment of stakeholder perspectives into access to new cancer medicines and highlights many challenges within the current system. It includes contribution from various cancer care stakeholders including health consumer organisations, clinicians, researchers, government and payers.

The report was launched at a sponsored symposium at the Medical Oncology Group of Australia’s (MOGA) Annual Scientific Meeting on 31 July 2013. The report can be accessed here  pdf_icon 3,816k

In late 2013 the Oncology Industry Taskforce commissioned Michael Wonder to conduct a report comparing Australia’s access to cancer medicines to other countries. A copy of this report entitled Reimbursement success rates and timelines for new medicines for cancer; an international comparison can be accessed here pdf_icon 554k

Request for Comment/Enquiry

Following the launch of the Access to Cancer Medicines in Australia report on Wednesday 31 July, Medicines Australia through its Oncology Industry Taskforce are now inviting submissions for comments/feedback on the initial findings of the Report.

One of the principal outcomes of the Report is the involvement of the wider community to participate in an informed and collaborative debate to identify how existing processes must progress to meet emerging challenges.

Public comment can be made via Oncology.Taskforce@medicinesaustralia.com.au and should have been submitted by Friday, 18 October 2013.

It is Medicine Australia’s preference that all submissions will be made publicly available on the Medicines Australia website; however Medicines Australia will keep a submission in confidence if requested.

Should you require any additional information please send an email to the Oncology Industry Taskforce

Submissions Received to date