MA wants clarity on PBS cuts

PBS cuts: scissors cutting $20 note

Australia’s peak medicines body has called on the Federal Government to clarify the extent of Budget cuts likely to affect essential and life-saving pharmaceuticals.

Medicines Australia says it remains concerned that billions of dollars will be stripped from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in a move that will undermine patient access to breakthrough medicines.

The organisation, representing the companies that make medicines, has warned that potential Budget cuts could lead to a two-tier system in which only the more wealthy can afford the latest medicines.

“All Australians deserve access to the world’s best medicines and we must avoid policy measures that will damage the PBS,” Medicines Australia CEO Tim James says.

“Health is consistently the highest priority for Australians. We know how much medicines matter to people and the PBS is greatly valued by Australians.

“Access to medicines is essential for people to participate in full and productive lives.

“The medicines industry has previously worked with government to deliver sustainable, significant and enduring PBS savings worth more than $20 billion over the period 2007-2018.

“Medicines Australia remains ready to work with the Minister to deliver access to the best medicines for Australian patients.

“A stable PBS helps patients, supports thousands of medical researchers and jobs and encourages investment in medical research in Australia.”

James says that Australian patients already face very considerable challenges with access to new medicines.

A report released this year found Australia ranked 18th among the top 20 OECD countries in access to new medicines, with cancer patients waiting an average of 573 days for new drugs that have already received regulatory approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

“Medicines Australia calls on the Government to work constructively with industry to deliver solutions that will not damage the PBS,” James says.

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