MA’s ‘healthier future’ push

Keep the PBS strong and encourage continued investment in Australia’s health are two key messages in the federal budget submission from Medicines Australia (MA).

In the submission, titled ‘Our choice for a healthier future’, MA also seeks a commitment to ensure the full implementation of, and commitment to the strategic agreement between the pharmaceutical industry body and the government.

MA says that over the past decade, Australia’s innovative medicines industry has worked with successive governments on fundamental reforms delivering more than $20 billion in ongoing savings, with the strategic agreement also having locked in further savings in every year of the budget forward estimates through to 2022, totalling about $1.8 billion.

The submission also encourages the government to expand the investment opportunities for innovation and research in the pharmaceutical sector and work with industry to demonstrate the broader value of medicines to patients and society.

MA CEO Liz de Somer says the challenge for government, industry and the community is to ensure that the PBS can fully fund the needs and demands of Australian patients, not only for existing medicines and vaccines, but also for tomorrow’s advancements in innovative therapies.

“This can only be achieved by government making a commitment to work with industry to maintain a fit-for-purpose PBS, support innovation, R&D and the investment environment and to provide additional business certainty by ensuring that there are no surprise PBS savings measures introduced in the 2019-2020 federal budget”, she said.

“Fast access to new medicines is also a huge issue in Australia. Our approvals timeframes lag significantly when compared to other OECD countries and this is costing lives.

“So, in our 2019-2020 federal budget submission, we have also asked the government to ensure that PBAC recommendations be approved by cabinet within a six-month time frame.

“Medicines Australia remains committed to working with government to create solutions that address the viability and sustainability of the PBS and its ability to properly fund new medicine – so we can make the right choices for a healthy Australia.”

Medicines Australia’s 2019-2020 budget submission can be viewed here.