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NAPWHA joins campaign against PBS deferrals decision

Story • Graham Stocks • 23 June 2011

Members of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), including NAPWHA, have begun a campaign opposing the Federal Government’s decision to delay the listing of new medicines and vaccines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme[Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme] The federal government program which subsidises medication costs in Australia. Anti-HIV drugs are part of a special part of the PBS called Section 100 (S100) which is used for expensive, highly specialised drugs. (PBS), pending Cabinet approval.

The decision to arbitrarily delay the listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) of new medicines which have already been through the rigorous process of evaluation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), combined with the fact that there has been no satisfactory explanation of that decision beyond short term budgetary considerations, is something that we strongly believe we need to continue to oppose.

CHF asked members to endorse a Statement of Public Intent condemning the Cabinet decision. Almost sixty consumer health organisations, representing a wide range of consumers, therapeutic areas, diseases and causes, pledged their support to this campaign calling on Government to reverse this short-sighted decision.

Attached below is a poster of the Statement of Public Intent. The Statement of Public Intent will be launched today at the National MS Advocates Conference.

There is still work to be done to promote the Statement and encourage the Government to return to the previous process of listing medicines.

Individuals and Organisations are asked to help in the following ways:

  • Display the poster in your workplace and distribute it to your networks, colleagues, friends and families and encourage them to display it in their workplaces, community areas, local doctors’ surgeries and other health services. A printable PDF version of the poster can be found below.
  • Write a letter or email to your Federal Member of Parliament alerting them to your opposition to this issue. Each organisation and individual will, of course, have their own particular stories to tell, some of them based around the need for new medicines that have already been delayed or may face indefinite deferral. As a guide, however, we have attached some key messages that could be included in a letter. Governments often discount formulaic letters, so the more the letters are personalised the better. You can find out what electorate you are in and who your members are through the Australian Electoral Commission on 13 23 26 or www.aec.gov.au. Contact details for Federal Members of Parliament can be found at www.aph.gov.au.
  • Speak to your local media about the issue and share the Statement of Public Intent with them. Use radio, television and local print publications to help get the message out about your opposition to this decision.

CHF would like to generate as much public, political and media interest as possible in this issue in the hope it will encourage politicians to listen and act upon the clear message being sent by health consumers.

CHF strongly advocates for improving the health of all Australians and so we are urging the Government to rethink this short-sighted policy that will reduce the health and wellbeing of the Australian community. We hope that you will join with us in sharing the Statement of Public Intent widely.

Should you have any questions about the Statement of Public Intent, or if you would like to be more involved in the campaign, please contact CHF Project Officer, Sarah Watt on 02 6273 5444 or s.watt@chf.org.au.

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This Story was first published on 23 June 2011 — more than two years ago.

While the content of this story was checked for accuracy at the time of publication, NAPWHA recommends checking to determine whether the information is the most up-to-date available, especially when making decisions which may affect your health.