Australian multinationals have jumped to a record high after a blockbuster drug company acquired a small Australian rival to its blockbuster drugs.
Key points:The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is a government program that offers drug makers incentives for developing new medicinesA new group of drugs has hit the market in the hope of helping patients with cancerA record $US5.7 billion has been spent on the scheme, which has helped more than 10 million Australians with cancer, heart disease and other ailments get access to their next-generation treatments.
The Government has pledged to spend $US1.5 billion a year by 2020 on the PBS, a move which has been hailed as an unprecedented effort to support the health of Australians.
Its main beneficiaries are the Government’s main public health program, the National Health Service, which relies heavily on the funds from the scheme.
The government says the program is critical to the health and wellbeing of Australians, but critics say it does little to deliver the drugs and devices that are needed.
They point to recent reports that the Government has not spent enough on the fund, which is used to fund drugs and therapies that are not ready to be used in Australia.
But a report released on Monday from the Australian Council of Trade Unions found that the scheme has delivered significant savings for the Australian taxpayer.
The council says the fund saved taxpayers $8.4 billion in 2015-16, which included: $3.4bn in reduced costs to consumers and businesses; $4.2bn in increased productivity; and $2.8bn in lower prices for patients.
“There’s a significant gap in health care expenditure in Australia,” Dr Lisa Grant from the Council of Australian Governments told the ABC.
“That gap in spending is being filled by the Government.”
She says the Government is missing an opportunity to ensure that health care services are accessible to all Australians.
“We need to look at the gap in funding that’s going to the system,” Dr Grant said.
“I think that gap in healthcare spending has been a real issue.”‘
A little bit of a mystery’What is the government’s plan to ensure the drugs are available to Australians?
How much of a boost is there to the PBP?
Why is there such a high amount of spending?
What is a ‘small’ pharma company?
The Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme is set up under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act to give the Government a chance to invest in a new product or treatment.
In recent years, the Government and pharmaceutical companies have been locked in a battle over how much of the fund they can spend on drugs.
In December 2016, the Federal Government proposed raising the amount the Government could spend on drug development to $US500 million per year, with an extra $500 million allocated for the pharmaceutical industry.
However, Dr Grant says that plan will not be enough.
“The Government is also not going to be able to do this on its own,” she said.”[It will] be the Government that’s looking to spend the money to ensure there’s a proper system of research and development, that people can get their medicines.”
And so if they’re going to spend that on their own they’re really going to need the Government to provide more money for pharmaceutical research and clinical trials.
“Dr Grant said it was unclear how much would be spent on pharmaceutical research.”
So it’s very unclear what the Government would be spending on pharmaceuticals to fund their research and what the costs would be,” she told the program.”
It’s a little bit a mystery.
“Dr Craig Roddin, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Advisory Council, says the government needs to do more.”
What the government should do is ensure the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme has enough resources to provide its members with adequate and timely access to medicines and to the drugs that are available in the market,” Dr Roddins said.
He said that would be by supporting the pharmaceutical research program, which currently provides grants to more public and private organisations.”
One of the things we know is that the funding of the Pbs has been declining in recent years,” he said.