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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Medicines Australia CEO reveals policy and advocacy focus for 2022

Health Industry Hub | January 19, 2022 |
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Pharma News: As we embark on a new year of transition and transformation, Medicines Australia’s CEO Elizabeth de Somer speaks to Health Industry Hub about the 2021 highlights and the organisation’s policy and advocacy focus for the new year.

She reflects on the most significant recommendations from The House of Reps Inquiry report The New Frontier: Delivering better health for all Australians and how the upcoming independent review of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) will address the issues raised during this Inquiry.

Health sector financing challenges, efficiency of spending and pricing reforms are likely outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic that will impact the pharma industry. Add to that an upcoming election and you already have a complex start to 2022.

Liz de Somer said “Provided that the government demonstrates an appetite for reform, then the reform can happen through that HTA review to make sure that Australia keeps pace with advancing science, can address the changing international environment and can ensure that a healthy failure can underpin a vibrant economy. One of the key factors will be notably and tangibly reducing the time from registration to subsidised access for patients and increasing the recognition of the true value of medicines beyond the health outcome by including patient reported measures, patient reported experiences, second round effects, contribution to the economy, productivity and welfare dependence.

“The community has a tremendous influence and the patients want access to the things that will change their lives. It’s incumbent upon the government to provide the systems that enable them to get access as quickly as possible.”

She added “We have built strong relationships with departments and senior ministers on both sides to ensure that patients and health does remain an important conversation during the election. It gives us an opportunity to put forward our expectations of an incoming government to deliver on the HTA review, the strategic agreement and the House of Reps Inquiry.

“Clearly, budgets and financing are going to be a challenge for governments and that’s why it’s so important that we have these reforms and this [HTA] review because in the past, the healthcare system as well as medicines expenditure is seen as a cost to the budget and not seen as an investment. I think that is what needs to change in the future, in looking at our expenditure on health as an investment. A greater recognition that health is inextricably linked to economic prosperity is really important to that future financing.

“What we’ve also seen during the last few years, which will be an important part of the election, is that intersection between states and territories with the federal government. It’s critical that there is alignment there. When there is misalignment in the goals and objectives in the healthcare system, there are disagreements, fragmented healthcare delivery and confusion. It is not just about collaboration amongst patients, peak bodies, healthcare professionals and industry but also there needs to be that working together and collaboration with the states and territories. Perhaps that is a stakeholder that the peak bodies and those representatives need to engage with.”


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