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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Health front and centre of economic recovery, according to MA

Health Industry Hub | May 12, 2021 |

Pharma News: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg placed the nation’s health, wellbeing and recovery from COVID-19 front and centre of last night’s 2021-22 Federal Budget.

The Government will invest $43 billion over four years in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which continues to provide Australians with access to subsidised medicines.

The Australian Government established the New Medicines Funding Guarantee in 2020–21 to meet the cost of future, new and amended PBS medicines listings. As part of the 2021–22 Budget, this Government is investing an additional $878.7 million in new and amended listings, funded through the Guarantee.

Medicines Australia and the innovative pharmaceutical industry recognise the $1.9 billion commitment the Government has made in this Budget to COVID-19 vaccines (total investment to date including the new investment is $7.2 billion), together with $1.5 billion for COVID-19 related health services.  

“This Federal Budget recognise that health is the key to our economic recovery,” states Liz de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia. “We recognise the significant investment in the COVID-19 vaccine response and listing new advances in medicines. Our highest priority will be to partner with Government and remain at the forefront of our nation’s recovery and protecting Australians in the future.”

The Government will provide crucial investment to support the overall health of Australians with a specific focus on women’s health ($354 million). This includes initiatives addressing endometriosis, genetic screening and prevention of pre-term births; a very significant commitment to improve aged care services ($17.7 billion) and notably $2.3 billion for mental health services and suicide prevention.

In addition to newly listed medicines on the PBS, the industry recognises the Government’s focus on critical areas of manufacturing and patent protection:

●        Manufacturing: $1.5 billion commitment to expand manufacturing in areas including medical products and clean energy. This will support further growth in the sector, which improves health outcomes for Australians as well as providing highly-skilled jobs and valuable exports.

●        Clinical Trials: $10.4 million commitment to clinical trials over 4 years, however, more needs to be done to ensure we maximise this significant local capability to facilitate further advancement of our health ecosystem, support research jobs and secure early access to medicines.

●        Local New Patent Box: Supporting local patents in Australia with a reduced tax rate of 17% from 1 July 2022 for the medical and biotech sector represents a critical step in protecting local innovation.

●        STEM Scholarships: $42 million for scholarship for women in STEM over 4 years in partnership with industry is an important commitment.

Further action is required in ensuring reform to support access to innovative medicines for the benefit of patients and to drive Australia’s economic growth.

Medicines Australia will be finalising “a patient-centric five-year Strategic Agreement (commencing 1 July 2022) that delivers greater long-term access to medicines and vaccines for both industry and Government and patients now and into the future. This work is crucial to Australia’s economic recovery and in ensuring patients have access to new medicines and therapies when they need them.”


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