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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Labor commits to reviewing criticised funding decision for quality use of medicines

Health Industry Hub | May 20, 2022 |
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Pharma News: NPS MedicineWise welcomes the commitment from Labor to review a decision announced in the budget that affects the way quality use of medicines (QUM) is led and funded in Australia.

From 1 January 2023, NPS MedicineWise will no longer be funded by the Department of Health to deliver QUM functions. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) will take on core QUM ‘stewardship’ functions while education programs for health professionals and consumers will move to contestable funding.

A Department of Health (DoH) review in 2019 cited “almost universal acknowledgement that NPS MedicineWise produces high quality, valued resources in the delivery of its programs which support the Quality Use of Medicines and Diagnostics”. However, it also published 37 recommendations that included criticisms of the organisation’s collaboration and transparency.

NPS MedicineWise has now received confirmation from the Australian Labor Party of the commitment to review the decision.

The communication stated “In the 2022 Budget, the Morrison Government ceased funding NPS MedicineWise as the steward of supporting doctors and patients on the safe and quality use of medicines; work NPS MedicineWise has been responsible for since 1998, a period which has seen their work deliver a $1.1 billion saving to the PBS.

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“This decision has been criticised by doctor and consumer groups alike, who raise concerns about the implications for people’s health. If elected to Government on 21 May 2022 Labor will review this decision, with a primary goal of ensuring the quality use of medicines going forward.”

NPS MedicineWise CEO Katherine Burchfield said to ensure the best possible QUM outcomes for Australians, the review of the Federal budget decision should include consideration of stakeholder views and the impact on frontline health professionals and consumers.

“It would fit as part of the broader review of the National Medicines Policy (NMP) which has been postponed until after the election to work through extensive stakeholder feedback.”

“The NMP review is an opportunity to ensure the way QUM is driven in Australia is fit-for-purpose 24 years after the creation of the policy. This is a new post-pandemic world with exciting innovations in medicines and healthcare, but also growing tensions between access, affordability and safety. In this new environment and context, the need for independent QUM stewardship is more critical than ever,” she said.


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