Medicines Australia has expressed concerns about the proposed cuts to the PBS in tomorrow’s Budget.
Health Minister, Sussan Ley’s announcement of the listing of new medicines and vaccines on the PBS for cancer, blindness and shingles will be welcomed by many patients who have been waiting for these treatments to be available to them, says Medicines Australia chief executive Tim James.
“Listings of new medicines are supposed to happen,” James says.
“The PBS offers the Government a strong investment in the future health and productivity of Australians and it is why cost effectiveness tests are required,” he says.
“But, I am concerned that new listings, like these, will become increasingly difficult if the Government imposes the arbitrary funding cuts that have been proposed for the PBS in the coming budget.
“These are exactly the types of new medicines that could be under threat and not available to all Australians if the cuts go ahead, and the only losers will be patients.”
Both community and industry are already concerned with the time it takes for these medicines to be considered and finally made available to patients, says James.
“Some of these patients have been waiting more than a year for these medicines to become available to them,” he says.
“Proposed funding cuts will make this situation worse for patients and more difficult for the companies that make medicines.
“Australia will lose opportunities for the newest and best medicines and it will be more difficult for investments in future medical research to be made.
“Ironically, these cuts could actually increase the cost of the best medicines for Australians. If new medicines are not listed on the PBS in future it would mean that only the most well-off Australians could be able to afford them.”
Medicines Australia says it wants to work constructively with the Government to deliver a better and more stable solution – “one that won’t damage the PBS like the funding cuts that are currently being considered”.