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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5565


Senator Greig asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 17 September 2002:

With reference to the Inter-departmental Committee review of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS):

(1) What are the terms of reference for the committee's review of the PBS.

(2) Which stakeholders were invited to participate in the review.

(3) How did the committee decide which stakeholders to invite to participate.

(4) If stakeholders have prepared submissions, how will these be used by the committee.

(5) How can other stakeholders (ie. those not specifically invited by the committee) participate in the review.

(6) When will the report of the review be given to the Minister.


Senator Patterson (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The precise Terms of Reference of the Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) are Cabinet-in-confidence. However, broadly the Terms of Reference required the committee to examine the overall effectiveness of the PBS. In doing so, the Committee reviewed how the PBS can continue to achieve its objectives of providing timely, reliable and affordable access for the community to necessary medicines.

(2) My Department invited the following sixteen organisations to provide submissions to the IDC:

Medical

Australian Medical Association

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Australian Divisions of General Practice

Rural Doctors Association of Australia

Pharmaceutical

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia

Consumers

Australian Consumers' Association

Consumers Health Forum

Council on the Ageing

Industry

Medicines Australia

Generic Medicines Industry Association

Expert Advisory Committees

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines Committee

Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council

Other

National Prescribing Service Limited

(3) The organisations invited to submit their views were chosen on the basis that they represented a major stakeholder group or because of their expertise in relation to PBS issues.

(4) All submissions received were provided to Committee members and were considered in the work performed by the IDC.

(5) Any additional organisations, which expressed an interest in the work of the IDC, were also invited to submit their views in writing. In total, 35 submissions were received and considered by the IDC.

(6) The Government is currently working towards finalising the outcome of the IDC.