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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26386


Senator NETTLE (5:52 PM) —I had the opportunity to participate in one of the three inquiries that the Senate had into the free trade agreement with the United States. I did not have the opportunity to be a part of the select committee over the last three months, so this is an opportunity for me, as a member of the Senate, to ask these questions of the minister. You have already answered one question by saying that there was no modelling done by the government on the impact of price changes on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Is the government aware of studies done by ANU academics on the impact of higher prices as a result of the free trade agreement on the budgets of state public hospitals? The academics predicted that by 2008 there will be a 12 per cent increase in drug prices for state public hospitals as a result of a delay in generic drugs coming onto the system. Given the government has not done its own modelling, has it taken the time to respond to the modelling done by ANU academics on this issue?