Get Australians’ medicines out of the Cabinet

THE Federal Cabinet’s decision in February to defer indefinitely the listing of seven new medicines on the PBS means patients are being denied access to the latest treatments for conditions such as chronic pain, lung disease, schizophrenia and prostate disease.

These are medicines that the Government’s own expert committee had advised were clinically effective, cost effective and should be listed on the PBS.

Investing in health should be like investing in education or information technology – all are large expenditure line items that promote productivity and better quality of life. 

Yet, while spending on education and IT is broadly recognised as an investment in productivity, health expenditure is not.

While spending on the Education Revolution and the National Broadband Network is lauded as enhancing productivity, spending on medicines is not. This, despite the fact that the rigorous level of independent clinical