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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Medicines Australia puts HTA reform high on the agenda as InGeNA calls for enhanced access to genomic technologies

Health Industry Hub | June 10, 2022 |
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Pharma News: Medicines Australia has moved quickly to ensure that major reform of Australia’s health technology assessment (HTA) system is high on the new Government’s agenda.

Since the election, Medicines Australia has written to key MPs and Senators reiterating the organisation’s election policy priorities, most notably the HTA Reform.

Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer, has discussed the major policy reforms being advocated by the medicines industry to improve patient access to new medicines in person with Health Minister Mark Butler and has this week followed up with his office.

Ms de Somer said it was important to get in early to explain the complexities and urgency of reforms already underway, including the National Medicines Policy (NMP), and the HTA Reform, due to commence from 1 July.

“We want to collaborate with Minister Butler to finalise the establishment of the HTA Review Reference Committee, including the appointment of an independent Chair. The Albanese Government has committed to the HTA Reform and the goal of reducing the length of time patients must wait to access new and innovative medicines, treatments, and vaccines – and the Committee will be driving this reform process to inform Government,” Ms de Somer said.

Australia’s Industry Genomics Network Alliance (InGeNA) is also calling for genetic and genomic technologies to be addressed within the HTA reform process.

InGeNA published a whitepaper Future directions for health technology assessment in Australia, outlining how the HTA review could address many challenges such as the length and efficiency of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) process and improve transparency around evidentiary requirements, value definition and transparency. The reform process could also address larger issues such as funding models and broader legislation.

InGeNA Chair David Bunker said “The integration of genomics requires a collaborative approach across stakeholders in the value chain. Genomics is complex and evolving rapidly. Therefore, successful integration into clinical practice will require effective collaboration across the genomics value chain, including government, pathologists, healthcare professionals, consumers and suppliers of genomic technologies.”

Medicines Australia noted that the Reference Committee’s first action will be to develop and consult on Terms of Reference for the HTA Reform. To assist this process and to support the Committee’s tight schedule, Medicines Australia has collaborated with members and stakeholders to develop a first draft set of recommended Terms of Reference for the HTA Reform. These are intended to be a ‘conversation starter’ with the Government, the Department, and other stakeholders, with the expectation that a broad stakeholder consultation on the draft terms of reference will follow in the coming weeks.

Ms de Somer added “Previous Labor Governments have a history of introducing life-changing reforms to health care, including the introduction of the PBS in 1948, Medicare in 1984, and cigarette plain packaging in 2011. The HTA Reform is potentially of equal significance in delivering better health outcomes for all Australians.

“The HTA Review will undertake the first major reforms of the HTA system in 30 years. Modernising the system – with a clear focus on patient needs and heeding patient voices – to make it fit for purpose to serve future generations is well overdue.”


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