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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Is the government gearing up to release the long-awaited response to The New Frontier report?

Health Industry Hub | November 28, 2023 |

Pharma News: Key stakeholders, including Medicines Australia, are eagerly awaiting the government’s stance on the 31 recommendations proposed in the report, addressing critical issues in bringing new health technologies to Australian patients. In a highly anticipated move, the government is gearing up to release the long-awaited response to The New Frontier report within this week’s Parliamentary sitting.

The New Frontier report emerged in November 2021, as a result of a comprehensive 15-month Parliamentary Inquiry led by Dr Mike Freelander MP and Trent Zimmerman MP. This exhaustive Inquiry into the process for introducing new medicines and medical technologies received substantial attention, with over 200 submissions and 13 public hearings held.

Dr Mike Freelander MP, Federal Member for Macarthur and Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care, and Sport, emphasised the significance of the report’s findings earlier this month.

“The report is notably complex. I’m grateful that the Health Minister recognises its significance and has committed to providing a response in the next few weeks,” he highlighted at the time.

Reflecting on the prolonged implementation of inquiry recommendations, Melissa McIntosh MP, Member for Lindsay and Deputy Chair of Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, voiced concerns.

“We have an important role in making inquiry recommendations that can help change lives, but then it’s up to the Health Minister to make a decision about those recommendations,” she expressed. “People that have put a lot of work into those inquiries and are really passionate about it find that it takes too long.”

The 31 recommendations outlined in the report span various crucial aspects, encompassing earlier patient involvement, expedited access to new health technologies, streamlined pathways for precision medicine and genomics testing, educational enhancements in TGA and HTA processes, refined submission procedures, access programs, and improvements to Australia’s clinical trials system.

Liz de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia, underlined the advocacy efforts aligned with several recommendations in the report.

“Medicines Australia has continued to advocate for many of the recommendations made, which have also been raised through the HTA review process in submissions from Medicines Australia and other stakeholders,” she stated.

Speaking optimistically about recent progress in the clinical trials domain, Ms de Somer added, “We are pleased to see progress in the clinical trials space with the recent appointment of Emeritus Professor Ian Chubb AC as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Policy Reform Group (IGPRG) for health and medical research, including clinical trials. We look forward to the Government’s response to The New Frontier report and will provide members with an update when it is available.”

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