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Thursday, 31 May 2012
Page: 6628

Ms KING (BallaratParliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing) (12:58): I thank the members for Dickson, Fowler and Deakin for their contributions on the debate on this bill.

The National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2012 does put in place a pricing structure for the PBS that will deliver real benefits for the pharmaceutical industry and the administration of the PBS. The proposed amendments to the bill will create a uniform platform for the pricing of medicines across the PBS. Its creation of connections between prices will allow price changes and price calculations to flow. The new pricing structure will improve the operation of many current PBS policies but it is not intended to change PBS prices and it does not affect PBS funding or programs, nor access to medicines listed on the scheme. The effects for patients and pharmacies are insignificant. The effects for pharmaceutical companies will be small—as small as we can make them.

Meeting the 1 October 2012 commencement date relies on cooperation between government and industry in setting the new prices. Where prices need to change, we will be working to ensure that the effects are shared between companies and government as evenly as possible. The bill provides for a more efficient PBS. There are benefits for industry and government and indirectly for the users of the PBS. I want to again thank members and senators for their comments. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.