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New PBS medicines available faster: report plan.

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Media Release

The Hon Tony Abbott MHR Minister for Health and Ageing

27 July 2004 ABB122/04

New PBS Medicines Available Faster: Report Plan

The time taken for medicines to list on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be significantly reduced under recommendations outlined in the report Working together to improve the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - Review of the Post PBAC Processes Report released today.

The Review of post-Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) processes has been a collaboration between the Department of Health and Ageing and Medicines Australia.

In recent years, processes for listing medicines for government subsidy via the PBS have become more complex and there have been delays in having some complex and high-cost drugs listed.

Although the time between PBAC recommendation and subsidised use in the community has decreased from 9.5 months in 1995 to 5 months now, the report recommends further reducing this time. One recommendation made by the review team is for some drugs to be ‘fast tracked’ through the process. This could see some medicines listing within 6 to 8 weeks of being recommended by the PBAC.

The report has also recommended modernising my Department’s information technology systems so that the list of new PBS drugs that can now be prescribed by doctors is made available every month on-line instead of three times a year in print as is the present case.

This is a timely report because on Sunday, the Government announced the structure of the independent review mechanism for applications to list drugs on the PBS.

The Commonwealth is committed to the fastest possible access to affordable medicines and this report will help to ensure a good system continues to improve.

The Review of Post PBAC Processes Report may be downloaded from the PBS website at

The attachment to this release summarises the outcomes this Review should achieve.

Media contact: Andrew Simpson, 0408 490 207


Working Together to Improve the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme: The Expected Outcomes of the Post PBAC Review

The 26 recommendations of this report were developed to:

● reduce time to list a drug by:

● introducing flexible processes that will mean some new products can be listed in 6 to 8 weeks,

while others will take a maximum of four months to list after receiving a positive PBAC recommendation. ● modernising the Department’s information technology systems and enhancing on-line publishing

processes, to enable monthly listing cycles ● providing earlier consultations between the Department and industry prior to lodgement of

PBAC submissions, to achieve earlier agreement in areas that can cause delays.

● increase clarity and confidence in PBS listing processes through:

● clarifying roles and responsibilities throughout the PBS listing processes.

● expanding consultation and liaison between the Department and industry, to support industry

through the processes particularly in times of change.

● improve quality of PBS listing processes by:

● developing joint and individual training and education programs which will help to improve the

quality of submissions, increase knowledge of the process, and build understanding of change ● further developing capabilities, by identifying and improving technical and negotiation skills.

● strengthening networking and creating a shared vision by:

● providing better communication channels and holding education forums to improve the

interaction between industry and the Department.