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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Patient advocacy group and Medicines Australia set eyes on bold reform as HTA Review Reference Committee announced

Health Industry Hub | April 11, 2022 |
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Pharma News: The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review Reference Committee announced yesterday is tasked with driving major reforms to shape the future of Australia’s health system and provide faster access to novel medicines for patients.

Medicines Australia Chair, Dr Anna Lavelle, said Medicines Australia accepts the final composition of the Committee, which includes stakeholders from Government, industry, the health sector and, most importantly, the patient community.

The HTA Review has clear goals to reduce the time to access new medicines and health technologies by implementing new evaluation and funding pathways, increase the attractiveness of Australia as a first launch country for new medicines and ensure Australia’s assessment processes keep pace with rapid advances in health technology.

The Committee will be independently chaired by former senior public servant, Dr Peter Boxall AO, and will undertake the first major review of the HTA system in 30 years. The HTA Review will focus on medicines, biotherapeutics, and vaccines and will also include any related diagnostic tests and medical devices.

The other Committee members are John Young (Medicines Australia); Professor Andrew Roberts AO (Clinical/Scientific Expert); Professor Andrew Wilson (Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee); Adriana Platona PSM (Government Representative); Dr Dawn Casey PSM (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation – NACCHO); and Ann Single (Patient Voice Initiative).

Dr Lavelle said that the appointment of two patient advocates – Dr Dawn Casey PSM and Ann Single – was crucial and very welcome.

“The lived experience of patients and the impact and benefits of new medicines must be at the core of the Committee’s deliberations and decision making,” Dr Lavelle said.

Jessica Bean, Patient Voice Initiative Chair, said she is delighted that PVI’s coordinator, Ann Single, has been invited to be one of two patient representatives on the HTA Review Reference Committee.

“Since 2016, the Patient Voice Initiative has been advocating for patients to be seen, heard and valued in healthcare decision-making, so the Review and invitation is welcomed,” Jessica said.

Ann added “The patient perspective is critical to how we understand the value of health technologies and perform health technology assessment. So beyond providing input to individual HTA, the patient perspective has a place in shaping how and when we do HTA.

“Patient communities are concerned about equity, timely access and transparency in the current system. In my role as Chair of HTAi’s Patient and Citizen Involvement in HTA Interest Group, I’ve been encouraged by the way I see these issues being tackled around the world.

“The HTA review is a wonderful opportunity for us to work together as a community to make improvements in the way we do HTA in Australia and I feel deeply honoured to be considered for this role.”

Dr Lavelle added “The First Nations voice from NACCHO is vital. We are delighted that the biopharmaceutical industry will be represented by John Young, who is highly respected across the health sector in Australia and internationally.

“A scientist by training, Mr Young served as the Group President and Senior Advisor to the CEO of Pfizer before his retirement this year. Mr Young has also served as Chair of the Medicines Australia Board from 2006-2007.

“John has a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry, the Australian healthcare system, and a passion for optimising access to innovative medicines.”

Dr Lavelle said it is crucial that the Chair operates completely independently of Government to lead the Committee to provide objective advice that will steer this important Review.

“The outcomes must lead to health system improvement and meet future patient needs and demands,” Dr Lavelle said.

“Following his long career in the senior levels of the public service, we are confident Dr Boxall’s breadth of experience and desire for system improvements will allow him to act independently of Government and seek wide ranging views and advice.”

Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer said the HTA Review must ensure the Australian health system is equipped to embrace new medicines and technologies and meet the demands of future generations.

“Bold reform is needed to ensure better health outcomes for all Australians,” Ms de Somer commented.

“This includes reducing time to access new medicines, keeping pace with new and emerging technologies, and building on Australia’s capacity to provide patients timely access to quality therapeutic care.

“It is significant that the independently chaired HTA Review is a core component of the five-year Strategic Agreement signed this year by the Australian Government and Medicines Australia. Medicines Australia will be very close to this Review at every stage,” Ms de Somer said.

Once formed, the first task of the Reference Committee is to prepare the terms of reference for the Review in consultation with the PBAC, and other stakeholders including Medicines Australia.

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