Reports, articles and public enquiries

 

Public inquiries

Our mission is to bring innovative medicines to those who need them as quickly as possible.

We engage in discussions that shape public policy and regulatory environment to enable speedy access to medicines. We do this by participating in various Government inquiries of interest to us. Some inquiries are highlighted below with access to our full submissions to these inquiries:

PBAC guidelines should help patients gain the fastest access to the best medicines

Timely access to the medicines that Australians need, at a cost individuals and the community can afford is one of the objectives of the National Medicines Policy (NMP)1. The guidelines for submissions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) have an important role to play in achieving this outcome – they provide detailed, valued and important technical guidance for sponsor companies on what information is required by the PBAC and its subcommittees to assist them in making a recommendation to the Government to list a medicine on the PBS. In announcing the review on 25th April 2015, the Minister for Health, the Hon. Sussan Ley, highlighted the need “…to ensure the guidelines remain appropriate”, and noted the timeliness of this review given emerging technologies and expectations regarding subsidy of drugs based on changing evidence.

Senate Inquiry into the availability of new, innovative and specialist cancer drugs in Australia

Cancer treatment is on the cusp of a major transformation, particularly with the availability of new immunotherapies and targeted medicines. Yet Australia’s system for reviewing cancer medicines is outdated and leads to unacceptable delays in patients accessing the treatments that they need In this submission, we outline our experience with the existing framework and identify areas for improvement. We consider other countries’ attempts to accelerate access and propose four recommendations that will help Australian cancer patients get the medicines that they need in a timely manner.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health Inquiry into Hepatitis C in Australia

Australia has one of the highest diagnoses rates in the world when it comes to hepatitis C but one of the lowest treatment rates. The fewer than 2,000 people undergoing hepatitis C treatment each year falls well short of the 10,000 people who are newly infected with the disease annually.

Reports

Encouraging the ideas boom in biosciences through collaboration

Australian scientists have played a leading role in bioscience research for over 80 years, from Florey’s pioneering work in penicillin production, through Don Metcalf’s discovery of the first therapeutic proteins to Ian Frazer’s invention of cancer vaccine technology.

While Australia punches above its weight in basic research, its performance in commercialising biomedical discoveries is poor. The 2013 Global Innovation Index ranked Australia 116 out of 142 countries in innovation efficiency. As IP Australia has noted, we have the right ingredients for innovation but are ineffective in capitalising on these inputs when it comes to innovative output.

The impact of pharmaceutical innovation on premature mortality, hospital separations, and cancer survival in Australia, by Professor Frank Lichtenberg

Premature (before age 75 and 80) mortality has been declining in Australia, but there has been considerable variation in the rate of decline across diseases. I first analysed the effect that pharmaceutical innovation had on premature mortality from all diseases in Australia during the period 1998-2011 by investigating whether the diseases that experienced more pharmaceutical innovation had larger declines in premature mortality. My estimates indicated that 60% of the 1998-2011 decline in premature (before age 75) mortality was due to previous pharmaceutical innovation. The estimates generally supported the hypothesis that premature mortality depends on the number of drugs ever listed on the PBS, not on the number of drug classes. This would be the case if drugs within the same class are not “therapeutically equivalent.”