20 July 2011 The Gillard Government is now facing universal condemnation of its decision to ignore the independent agency that decides which new medicines should be made available to sick Australians.
The weight of opinion among 52 submissions to the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Gillard Government’s administration of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is that this Labor Government was wrong to take it upon itself to make decisions about what new medicines are placed on the PBS.
The Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today called on the Gillard Government and its hapless Health Minister Nicola Roxon to yet again acknowledge that they had made a major mistake and to reverse their decision.
Mr Dutton said the move earlier this year for Cabinet to override recommendations of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee was unprecedented.
“Now it is becoming clear to Australians what the impact of that action was – the world’s major drug companies are questioning whether they should waste millions of dollars making submissions to the PBAC only to have the Cabinet refuse to accept the advisory committee’s recommendations.”
“Those companies are now considering whether it is worth their while to bring life saving and pain relieving new medicines to the Australian market.”
Mr Dutton said the submissions to the Senate Inquiry, which will hold public hearings in Melbourne tomorrow and Canberra on Monday, yet again showed that the Gillard Government did not know what it was doing.
“They can waste billions on pink batts and shoddy school halls and billions more to build a broadband network, but can’t afford a few millions to help sick and suffering Australians – where are their priorities?”
Coalition motions condemning the Government’s refusal to list new drugs have passed both Houses of Parliament.
The Coalition will now await the Senate Inquiry’s report before considering what next steps can be taken to reverse this Labor policy debacle.