AMA fears drug price cuts will be at patients’ cost

The warning comes as the federal government continues to explore potential budget savings amid suggestions Australia is paying up to 10 times the rate of other countries for some drugs.

Associate professor of public health at the University of Sydney Philip Clarke told MO the Australian government paid about $30 a month for some generic statins while the UK paid $3 for the same drug.

“[The government] needs to use clinical evidence to determine which patient groups benefit from the more expensive drugs and look at a cost effectiveness basis to make these decisions,” he told MO.

While agreeing Australia needed to pursue savings on generics drugs, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton flatly rejected any notion of “government interference” regarding the prescribing of the most appropriate drugs.

“That is a recipe for disaster,” Dr Hambleton said.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said while Australia may