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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

AusBiotech advocates for maintained access to MedTech innovation through the Prostheses List

Health Industry Hub | February 19, 2021 |

MedTech News: AusBiotech submitted comments on the Department of Health’s Prostheses List (PL) consultation on behalf of its members, advocating for maintained access to new innovation in order to achieve good outcomes for patients through timely access to the medical devices they need.

While AusBiotech accepts that some reform may be needed to the PL, it is but small in nature. It has encouraged the Department to maintain the PL, and the benefits and the value it brings to innovators and patients. The consultation paper offered two options for consideration: major reform, or completely changing the system.

Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech, said “MedTech innovators are the engine of the healthcare system, and they need a supportive system throughout the entire pipeline to be able to deliver new technologies for patients and surgeons. If a well-constructed and considered reform is not achieved then the development of Australian research and industry in the MedTech sector will be collateral damage in the pursuit of minimising cost.”

The submission notes “Expenditure on prostheses accounts for only 14% of private health insurance hospital benefits paid annually (a figure agreed by the Private Healthcare Australia) and is very unlikely to be the reason for rising Private Health Insurance premiums, which are calculated using a complex algorithm and not transparent to consumers or industry. AusBiotech is concerned that the proposed reforms are being driven by supposed savings to the bottom line of private health insurers, without taking into account the cost-benefit, or value they deliver to patients and the healthcare system.”

Through its submission to the Department, AusBiotech demonstrated how the proposed Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) model would erode value, choice and access to innovation and novel technologies. DRGs would implement a simple accounting methodology that does not account for the health benefits that protheses offer.

Rather, healthcare should be approached with an all-of-government perspective. Implementing DRGs will damage the research and development ecosystem with the proposed changes further disincentivising manufacturing during a time we are looking to strengthen it. COVID-19 has not only brought life sciences’ social and economic contributions to the fore, it has also highlighted Australia’s sovereign capabilities, and the Australian Government has backed six key national priorities, including medical products, with its $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative. Implementing DRGs would be wasting the benefit of the local innovations/innovators present in Australia’s thriving sector.

A ‘win/win’ opportunity for the Australian Government to build on its support and become a global contender was offered. AusBiotech’s submission details how, through the creation of a ‘sandbox’ environment, Australian medtech companies would be able to realise their full potential. This environment would enable the small companies a chance to be reimbursed, while maintaining the necessary rigorous regulatory and safety requirements but, importantly, truncating the ‘dead’ time it can take to access the prostheses benefits.

As the national voice of the life sciences industry, AusBiotech champions advocacy and regularly submits commentary on behalf of its members and the Australian life science industry.

Read AusBiotech’s full response to the PL consultation here.

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