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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Federal Health Minister announces new PBAC and MSAC leadership appointments

Health Industry Hub | March 21, 2024 |

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler MP, has announced the appointment of the new Chairs for the the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).

Cancer researcher and medical oncologist, Professor Robyn Ward AM, has been entrusted with the position of Chair of the PBAC. Appointed for a tenure of four years commencing from May 5, 2024, Professor Ward succeeds Professor Andrew Wilson, who, after a nine-year tenure, retired from his role as PBAC Chair.

Professor Ward, currently serving as the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, brings to the forefront a wealth of experience in health technology assessment. Her prior leadership as Chair of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) since 2009, coupled with her previous tenure as a PBAC member, underscores her expertise for the new role.

Minister Butler stated “I welcome the appointment of Professor Ward as Chair of PBAC. She is eminently qualified to lead the PBAC and deliver the advice needed to ensure the PBS delivers equitable and timely access to effective and cost-effective medicines for Australians.”

Medicines Australia CEO, Liz de Somer told Health Industry Hub, “Professor Ward has extensive experience having been part of the HTA system for several years. The role of PBAC Chair will be pivotal in overseeing the implementation of the ambitious and bold HTA reform the Minister is seeking. 

“Medicines Australia, our members and stakeholders will continue to work with the Committee to ensure the needs of patients are a priority. The delays in access to subsidised new medicines, after they have been approved by the TGA, must be addressed. We wish outgoing Chair, Prof Andrew Wilson AO, well and thank him for his service to Australians.”

Simultaneously, the appointment of Professor Jonathan Craig as the Chair of the MSAC was announced. With effect from April 1, 2024, Professor Craig, a paediatric nephrologist and clinical epidemiologist, assumes the responsibility for guiding MSAC over the ensuing four years. His career, marked by a commitment to enhancing the health outcomes of individuals with chronic kidney disease, children, and indigenous communities, positions him as a noteworthy leader for MSAC.

Minister Butler welcomed the appointment of Professor Craig as Chair of MSAC, saying “He brings a wealth of clinical and research experience to the MSAC.”

Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) CEO, Ian Burgess, welcomed the appointment, saying “The Minister’s announcement is a timely reminder of the urgent need to address the ongoing challenges with MSAC processes, which are currently not fit-for-purpose for many types of applications and can result in multi-year delays in getting medtech to patients.”

Professor Kwun Fong, Thoracic and Sleep Physician at the Prince Charles Hospital in Queensland and Associate Professor Sarah Norris, medical researcher and experienced health technology assessor, have also been designated as co-Deputy Chairs of MSAC, further augmenting the committee’s capacity for informed decision-making and strategic direction.

Acknowledging the pivotal role played by Professor Andrew Wilson, Minister Butler extended gratitude on behalf of the government, recognising his leadership and dedicated service to the PBAC.

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