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Notice given 4 June 2003

1486  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—In relation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States of America:

(1) Is any aspect of the PBS included in the ambit of negotiations for the FTA; if so, which aspects and what changes are under consideration.

(2) (a) Does the Minister consider that the PBS requirement for new drugs to justify their listing and price by demonstrating significant clinical advantages and satisfactory cost-effectiveness compared to alternative drugs is a barrier to trade and (b) will the Minister rule out changes to these requirements through the FTA negotiations.

(3) (a) Does the Minister consider that Australian restrictions on the advertising of medicines directly to consumers are a barrier to trade; and (b) will the Minister rule out changes to these restrictions through the FTA negotiations.

(4) What is the Minister’s estimate of the price savings achieved for the Australian community for pharmaceutical products through the PBS.