Medicines Australia agrees to Budget savings

handshake: Medicines australia/Govt letter of agreement

Medicines Australia has agreed to sign a ‘Letter of Intent’ with the Australian Government for a five-year strategic agreement.

If finalised, the agreement will provide Australian patients and the medicines industry with a degree of stability and certainty in providing ongoing access to innovative medicines delivered through the PBS.

“In response to the Government’s budgetary challenges, we have agreed to meet all of the Government’s savings targets,” says Medicines Australia CEO Tim James.

“In return for providing the majority of $6.6 billion in cuts outlined by the Government, our members have been given a number of undertakings and concessions regarding any future price-related savings throughout the life of the Agreement.

“Our member companies invest billions of dollars to research, invent and manufacture innovative medicines to treat patients. The continuation of this investment relies on a fair and stable price for a limited period. That is our social compact with governments and patients around the world.

“The continuation of this social compact requires stability in policy making. While this agreement does contain cuts to medicines already proven to be cost-effective, we welcome the limited stabiity and certainty that this agreement will provide over the coming five years.”

Medicines Australia will now undertake a process to consult on these measures with key stakeholders including patient organisations, the medical sector and the broader community to ensure the ongoing viability and sustainability of the PBS.

“Our priority is, and has always been, to ensure all Australians have affordable access to the newest and most innovative medicines in the world,” says James.

“Australia is already ranked close to the bottom of the top 20 OECD countries when assessing both the time taken for patients to access the latest medicines and whether these medicines will even reach our shores.

“The challenge for the Government and our industry is to ensure that the measures in this agreement, while delivering savings for the Budget, improve, not worsen, access to medicines for all Australians.”

Medicines Australia expects to have the letter of intent converted into a binding Strategic Agreement by June 18 2015.

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