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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26381

Senator ALLISON (5:28 AM) —So why was there not a principle included in the free trade agreement that acknowledges the government's right, if you like, to recognise the need to deliver pharmaceuticals at the lowest possible cost? That is the big criticism. That is what all the academics are saying is wrong with this free trade agreement—that you have recognised the rights of innovative drug manufacturers but you do not have written in the rights of consumers and taxpayers to low-cost medicines. Those rights are not written in. When it comes down to pharmaceutical companies taking action against the PBAC on the basis of their very transparent reasons for not listing, the argument goes that they are in a very strong position to take action because the decision by the PBAC to not list was weighted against them as innovative drug manufacturers and was taken on the basis of cost effectiveness and the need to deliver low-cost medicines.