Government commits to uncapped PBS

Medicines Australia (MA) welcomed the federal budget announcement of $331 million for the listings of innovative medicines on the PBS.

This is reinforced by the government’s commitment to listing all positive recommendations made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

“The Morrison government has recognised that medicines matter and confirmed their commitment to the uncapped PBS and overall health expenditure,” Medicines Australia CEO Elizabeth de Somer said. “This will help ensure all Australians have access to new and innovative medicines they need when they need them.”

As part of the budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced overall health portfolio spending will increase by $20 billion over forward estimates, from $102 billion in 2018-19 to $115 billion in 2022-2023. The forward estimates show a $40 billion spend on the PBS consistent with previous years reporting.

“The fact that there were no significant reforms or new saving measures imposed on our sector is a reminder of the value of having a strategic agreement with the Commonwealth,” Ms de Somer said. “This provides the framework for ongoing collaboration, consultation and partnership in the future, and importantly, no surprises.

“Medicines Australia remains committed to working constructively with the government to deliver a solution that will enable the government to invest in the PBS so that new innovative medicines can continue to be listed for Australians.”

MA says forward estimates for funding on the PBS will dip and then grow because, beyond 2020-21, rebates have been removed from the presentation of the budget figures for PBS. As a result, the PBS headline figure will drop by 18.6 per cent in real terms.

The organisation adds that it will examine the 2019 federal budget over the coming days to determine further opportunities in which the government can maximise the return on its investment in medicines.


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