Federation Chamber on 13/08/2018
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
I want to speak briefly about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and why strong economic management matters. Since the election in 2013, there have been about 1,740 new or amended listings on the PBS, representing $9 billion of government support for new medicines. That means that this government is averaging 31 new or amended listings per month, or approximately one per day. The recent federal government budget alone included a $2.4 billion investment in new medicines.
By way of example, at the end of last month the Minister for Health announced the government will invest $250 million to make four life-changing cancer medicines available to thousands of Australian patients from 1 August. These medicines will assist patients suffering from a type of head and neck cancer, lymphoma and leukaemia as well as chemotherapy patients. The health minister also announced a subsidy for new PBS medicines for hepatitis C and diabetes. All these patients will now have access to affordable, life-changing medicines and save thousands of dollars in treatment costs per year.
Governing is all about choices and having the right priorities. Unlike Labor, who lost control of the budget and then lagged in their listing of new medicines, this government's strong economic management ensures all medicines recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee are funded.