Australia’s innovative medicines industry has called on the Abbott Government to negotiate a five-year strategic agreement after it reached an in-principle deal with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Medicines Australia CEO, Tim James, says the sector that invents and manufactures medicines is seeking certainty from the Government following more than $3 billion in budget savings.
“While Medicines Australia is yet to see the detail of the Pharmacy Guild agreement, the apparent 23% increase in funding will provide certainty for pharmacists and ensure patients are able to have prescriptions filled in much the same way as they always have,” James says.
“Like the Guild, our members are seeking certainty from the Australian Government.
“We all want the very best PBS for Australian patients.”
While the Pharmacy Guild was able to secure certainty with a significant increase in funding for their members, Medicines Australia says the sector that invents and manufactures medicines is being forced to provide more than $3bn in savings.
“Timely access to medicines is critical in ensuring an effective healthcare system and manufacturers are a vital component to this equation: researching, discovering, developing and bringing new and innovative treatments to Australian patients,” James says.
“However, ad hoc cuts to the medicines budget threaten Australians’ access to new medicines and are a poor choice for government savings. History has shown that most of the savings made in the PBS are not re-invested in innovative new medicines for Australians.
“Medicines Australia believes that an agreement can and should be reached, one that includes all key sectors of the medicines supply chain, to meet the needs of government, industry and consumers.
“We will continue to work on reaching an agreement in the comings days and weeks.
“We remain optimistic this government will adopt a similar constructive, respectful and reasonable approach to that taken when Prime Minister Tony Abbott was the health minister in 2007, and substantial savings were achieved – savings that are still flowing through today.”
He says the industry has always worked constructively with government to ensure the sustainability of both the PBS and the innovative medicines industry.
“The Prime Minister was very hands-on during that process to ensure the policy objectives of the executive government were achieved and neither the government nor industry were hindered by potentially narrow, bureaucratic constraints,” James says.
”We look forward to hearing from the government about where to go next to ensure there are no barriers to bringing new medicines to the people that need them and to ensuring the viability of such an important industry to Australia’s health.
“We just want to ensure Australians have access to the best PBS.”