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PBS cost recovery will compromise PBAC independence and increase costs to patients.

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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website :


AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, today warned that the Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) cost recovery plan will undermine the independence of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and provide the pharmaceutical industry with another line of attack against PBAC decisions.

Dr Haikerwal said the new policy has effectively re-defined PBAC’s work as a service to the private sector.

“PBAC is there to protect the interests of patients, not the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“This policy compromises the independence of PBAC by increasing the influence of industry over PBAC decisions.

“When you buy something, you expect something in return,” Dr Haikerwal said.

The PBAC provides an essential service to the public by ensuring medications are priced competitively for the health benefit they provide for patients.

It must also maintain the processes that are the envy of other regulatory authorities worldwide and which are a target of the pharmaceutical industries.

Cost recovery will undermine these processes.

Dr Haikerwal said the cost recovery plan would very likely push up the costs of vital drugs, leaving those who can least afford to pay for their medication facing a greater financial burden.

“The PBS is very important - it ensures that Australians are able to access the medicines they need, regardless of their own personal financial circumstances,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“The AMA vigorously opposes any move to weaken that.

“The AMA calls on the Federal Government to abandon its plans to introduce this measure - it is too big a price for the community to pay for a saving of $11 million.”

The AMA Federal Council yesterday passed an urgency motion stating there is no case for recovering the cost of PBS listing and pricing functions of the Department of Health and Ageing from the pharmaceutical industry.

25 May 2007

CONTACT: John Flannery 0419 494 761 Kylie Walker 0405 229 152