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Minister for Health, Sussan Ley

Australians will benefit from cheaper medicines, a more competitive pharmacy sector and greater investment in new medicines and patient support services, according to Health Minister Sussan Ley who this week announced a “balanced” package of pharmaceutical reforms on behalf of the Abbott government. 

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Access and Sustainability Package follows extensive consultations and “robust negotiations” across the pharmaceutical supply chain, which includes consumers, pharmacists, medicines manufacturers, wholesalers and doctors. 

Saying the package had “struck the right balance between supporting the needs of consumers, industry and taxpayers,” Minister Ley explained that the measures include the price of medicines being discounted for patients and improved access to new medicines; greater certainty for medicines manufacturers via a five year strategic agreement; and an additional $2.8B investment in supporting pharmacy and primary care.

Ms Ley said stakeholders recognised the need to deliver a more sustainable PBS to ensure the Government could continue to list new medicines, with the package also proposing total efficiencies of $6.6 billion over five years across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain.

She said the proposal to allow pharmacists to discount the price of medicines by up to $1 per script could save some pensioners over $40 per year while delivering the Government about $400 million worth of efficiencies over five years. 

Savings delivered through the package over the next five years would support the Government’s ability to continue to list new medicines into the future, the Minister said. 

Details are at the Department of Health