21 June 2011 Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton has called on the Gillard Government to abandon its politicisation of the life-saving Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Mr Dutton said, unlike any previous Government, Gillard Labor had taken it upon itself to effectively make life-and-death decisions by deferring listing of new drugs on the PBS.
“Medical experts decide what drugs should be subsidised for Australian patients, doctors decide what drugs will be prescribed for patients, but in Australia today the Gillard Cabinet decides whether those drugs will be made available,” Mr Dutton said.
“Julia Gillard’s Cabinet is now making decisions that have direct impact on the physical wellbeing and health of sick Australians.”
“In the interests of the sick and suffering and their families this has to stop.”
Mr Dutton said the Government must reverse its decision of February this year to defer listing several news drugs recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
“At the time the Health Minister said seven drugs would not be subsidised because of the ‘current fiscal circumstances’ – in other words the debt and deficit this Government has delivered to the nation – and that listings would not occur until the Federal Budget was in surplus.”
“Now two of those drugs will be subsidised from September, yet the Minister cannot explain what circumstances have changed. She undermines the very reasoning she put forward four months ago.”
“This just proves that every decision about PBS listings is now absolutely political.”
“And the Minister indicated today it would continue that way with Cabinet deferring new listings as it saw fit.”
Mr Dutton said the Government had completely undermined the PBAC and an independent process recognised as among the best in the world.
The Shadow Minister said a Coalition Government would revert to a system where PBAC recommendations were recognised and acted upon by the Government.
He said the Gillard Government should do likewise immediately.