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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

ACCC extends approval of MA-GBMA collaboration to protect against medicines shortages

Health Industry Hub | October 1, 2021 |
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Pharma News: The Australian medicine industry has been given the green light by the competition regulator to continue its successful collaboration which was initiated 18 months ago to protect Australian patients against medicine shortages.

Peak industry bodies, Medicines Australia (MA) and the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) have been granted a further conditional interim authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to continue to work together, with the Government, to secure the supply of essential medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACCC previously authorised similar conduct in 2020 for a period of 12 months. Medicines Australia requested re-authorisation (including interim authorisation) because the existing authorisation expired on 30 September 2021 and the ongoing challenges arising from the Delta variant of COVID-19 are likely to require MA/GBMA Working Group members to engage (on short notice) in the conduct. The proposed conduct in the application for re-authorisation is narrower in scope than the conduct authorised under the existing authorisation.

Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia, said that against this backdrop, the Australian medicine industry has worked around the clock to ensure Australian patients could continue to access their medicines.

“The highly skilled, talented people, who work for the industry, have worked tirelessly so we can protect ourselves against this virus and still receive other critical medicines but we are not out of the woods yet,” she said.

“As the spread of the Delta variant continues to put pressure on our healthcare system, it is critical that we work together to secure the supply of vital prescription medicines, including those needed for patients in ICU,” she said.

Marnie Peterson, CEO of GBMA, said the risk of medicines shortages is one of the most important challenges facing both the Government and the healthcare industry during this global health and economic crisis.

“At the forefront of all of our collective decision making, is the safety and protection of all Australians,” she said. “It is on their behalf, that we collaborate closely with all governments to develop policies and implement protocols to secure supply and manage medicine demand by community pharmacies, prescribers and hospitals.”

The ACCC conditional interim authorisation for Medicines Australia and GBMA will continue for the next 12 months while the competition regulator seeks submissions from interested parties about the application for re-authorisation.


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