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PBS campaign

BCNA News 03 Oct 2011

PBS campaign

PBS campaign results in win for consumers

BCNA has welcomed an announcement by the Australian Government that it will revert to its previous process for the listing of new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the next twelve months. 

This means that medicines recommended for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and that cost less than $10 million a year will be added to the PBS without requiring Cabinet approval.

In February this year, the Government changed the listing process so that all drugs needed Cabinet approval before they could be added to the PBS. The Cabinet subsequently decided not to list a number of drugs that had been recommended by the PBAC, causing public outcry.

In announcing that it will revert to its previous policy for the next twelve months, the Government also advised that the drugs deferred by Cabinet in February will be listed on the PBS as of 1 December this year. A number of other drugs that have been recommended by the PBAC since February will also be listed from 1 December. These include the breast cancer drug Xgeva (denosumab), which is used to treat bone metastases in women with secondary breast cancer.

The Government has advised it will work with key stakeholders, including Consumers Health Forum (CHF), Medicines Australia and the Generic Medicines Industry Association, over the next twelve months to develop a strategy to strengthen the PBS while keeping costs at a reasonable level.

BCNA was one of 60 consumer health organisations that joined with CHF to campaign for this change in government policy. We congratulate CHF and other stakeholders in achieving this good outcome for health consumers.  We will continue to work with CHF on this issue as it continues its discussions with the Australian Government.

More information

  • Read about a Parliamentary Inquiry into this issue, including BCNA's submission to the Inquiry and the Committee's report
    Senate Inquiry into the PBS