Medicines Australia Update
National Medicines Policy Review
The National Medicines Policy (NMP) is approximately 20 years old, and with the fast pace of medicines development, new precision medicines, therapies and diagnostics, this is a key opportunity to ensure that the NMP is delivering on its promise and is providing access to medicines for all Australians. Minister Hunt attended an event at Pfizer late last year and confirmed the review will begin in March and be co-designed by government and stakeholder groups. The Minister has formed a preliminary working group consisting of consumers, clinicians and industry to advise the government on the review taskforce, draft terms of reference and its structure and process. Medicines Australia Chair, Dr Anna Lavelle and CEO, Elizabeth de Somer will be representing industry on this working group.
At this stage, we do not have details on the scope and breadth of the review so this message is to merely provide you with an awareness that it is on the horizon.
So what can you do between now and then?
Firstly, please familiarise yourself with the NMP if you haven’t already. The document is easy to read and is 13 pages long. Please find the link to the background information and document from the Department of Health website.
Secondly, start to think about what is working well and what is not working so well with the current NMP, keeping in mind to have a continuing relevant NMP over the next 10 years, what else you would like to see included. This will help you to commence organisational and membership thoughts, so that when stakeholder feedback and involvement is required from the Department of Health, then you are ready to provide.
As more information comes to hand we will share, so watch this space.
I know you would agree that all Australians should receive timely and equitable access to innovative medicines as they arrive in Australia. Every innovative medicine made available in Australia has the potential to generate a significant return on investment in the overall health system and economy.
In order to reinforce this, Medicines Australia created some materials that highlight the impact of pharmaceutical innovation to the economy, the community and most importantly the patient.
This toolkit is available here and Medicines Australia can supply hard copies by contacting Natalie Wimmer, similarly, should you wish to add your company logo to these cards, please let Natalie know. We hope that you will find these resources useful when communicating the importance of access to medicines.
We have also created a series of short videos which highlight how a person’s superannuation is affected because of illness. Keep an eye out in your local GP clinic for these in the future.
We will be adding to this toolkit over the coming months and years and will let you know when updates are made.
In October last year, Medicines Australia hosted 300 guests at Parliament House for our annual PharmAus Policy Symposium and Innovative Medicines Showcase. The theme was Medicines Matter: To the patient, the community and the economy.
A comprehensive report of the event is available here.
This year’s far-ranging discussion focussed on how to continue to improve the Australian health system, noting that while it is highly effective in some respects, there is still progress to be made. Four key themes emerged from the discussion throughout the day:
- Patients must be at the centre of all health care decisions – from decisions of care through to involvement in policy and regulatory decision making. Without including patients, we risk making assumptions about what matters rather than decisions informed by information from those most affected.
- The upcoming review of the National Medicines Policy offers a significant opportunity for change. We need to take this opportunity to engage with the National Medicines Policy review to ensure the Policy is fit for the 21st century.
- The pharmaceutical industry is facing – and embracing – rapid change. From technological developments to advances in personalised care, the medicines landscape is evolving, and we must be responsive and adaptive.
- Compelling economic arguments support investment in innovative medicines. Medicines support economic growth through extending lives, reducing morbidity, reducing hospital costs, creating jobs, furthering the export industry and boosting productivity.
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