Fear of drug price hikes with trade plans

Demands from the US for changes to Australian drug patent laws and regulatory processes are a threat to the PBS and could drive up drug prices, according to campaigners.

The conditions are part of a slew of controversial measures being considered in the latest round of free-trade talks between nine nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), taking place in Melbourne this week.

Under the terms, there would be a shift away from the “therapeutic significance” and cost-effectiveness tests currently used by the Pharmaceutical