21 July Joint Media Release The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing and Senator Fierravanti-Wells Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Mental Health.
Patients are the big losers in the Cabinet interference of listing new drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, a Senate inquiry has heard.
The penny-pinching Gillard Government has been caught out, said Peter Dutton, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.
“The inquiry has exposed the anger in the medical and pharmaceutical communities over the meddling by a group of people unqualified to make life and death decisions on people’s treatment,” Mr Dutton said.
“Minister Roxon thought saving money by ignoring the advice of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) would win her brownie points but all it has done is expose yet another case of a government that cannot deliver a program.
“This is the same government responsible for more than $1 billion in waste in its Building the Education Revolution. It has refused to subsidise life-saving treatments for thousands of Australians so that it can try to pay its debt.”
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the human face of the government’s interference was on show during today’s hearing in Melbourne.
“It was a brave 17-year-old who explained her first hand experience to the committee that showed the real cost of this interference,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“Chey-Anne Ellsum needed botox injections to treat severe sweating but her grandparents had to pay after the treatment was refused subsidy.
“This young woman was prepared to appear before the committee so that we could hear how these decisions taken around the Cabinet table in Canberra have drastic and debilitating effects on people’s lives.
“Witnesses from pharmaceutical companies said tens of thousands of patients had been affected and potentially many more would be if new drugs were not made available.
“Companies were being discouraged from investing in research and development because there was no certainty in the process anymore.
“Of course a rigorous approval process is required and one was in place but as this hearing today showed, this Labor Government has meddled and the cost is high.”
The hearing continues in Canberra on Monday.