No change in PBS drug deferral plan

THE health sector remains at loggerheads with Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon after crisis talks last week failed to adequately ease tensions over the Government’s commitment to pass Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommendations through Cabinet.

Representatives from the AMA, Medicines Australia (MA), the Generic Medicines Industry Association and the Consumers Health Forum met Ms Roxon in Melbourne to protest a Government decision in February to defer listing seven products onto the PBS despite PBAC recommendations backing the move.

Six additional new drugs – for multiple sclerosis, hypertension, infections related to cystic fibrosis, colon cancer, anticoagulation and bipolar disorder – were recommended for listing by the committee last week but remain subject to Cabinet review.

Despite assurances from Ms Roxon in the meeting that the Government did not aim to undermine the PBAC process, MA chief executive