Home' Australian Pharmacist : April 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- April #04
urologist that they then present at
a participating pharmacy to redeem
their pack. Currently 2,500 Symbion
Pharmacy Services account holders
are participating in this scheme. Other
pharmacies interested in participating
can also do so by calling Symbion
Customer Service on 1300 772 000 to
order a pack.
'This is an exciting and much-needed
resource for the almost 20,000
Australian men diagnosed with
prostate cancer each year. We expect
that this new pack will provide real
benefits to those newly diagnosed
men and their loved ones, and we look
forward to working with Australian
pharmacies to deliver these benefits,
Mrs Edwards said.
The packs will be delivered to
Symbion Pharmacy Services account
holders from 10--13 May. For more
information about the packs, please
call the Prostate Cancer Foundation of
Australia on Tel: 1800 22 00 99.
Each Localised Prostate Cancer Pack
• User Guide -- How To Use This Pack
• Evaluation form
• What Every Man Should Know
• Localised Prostate Cancer: A Guide
for Men and Their Families
• Coping with a Diagnosis of Prostate
• So, I have Prostate Cancer,
What Now? DVD
• What Women (and Their Men)
Need to Know About Prostate
• Continence and Prostate: A Guide
for Men Undergoing Prostate
• Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises for
• Sex After Treatment, Prostate
• TreatED Prostate Edition booklet.
The two sides of the argument over
the deferral of the listing of medicines
on the Pharmaceutical Benefits
Scheme (PBS) received a hasty airing
at the Medicines Australia annual
dinner in Canberra last month.
The chairman of Medicines Australia,
Will Delaat, used his speech
to criticise the
its decision to defer
listing a number of
medicines, while the
Minister for Innovation,
Industry, Science and
Research, Kim Carr,
retorted that the
Government was facing hard times
and there was 'no sugar-coating
Mr Delaat said it was 'extremely
concerning' to see the Government's
announcement that Cabinet had
deferred the listing of seven new
medicines on the PBS.
He said this decision was
taken despite advice from the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory
Committee -- the Government's own
clinical and health economics experts
-- that the medicines were value for
money and should be listed.
'This was an alarming outcome for
patients and an alarming outcome for
industry, because it has undermined
patient access, business certainty
and, frankly, the Government's whole
evaluation process for medicines,
Mr Delaat said.
'The Government has also now said
that all new submissions to the PBS
will require Cabinet approval, not just
those costing over $10m a year. These
changes were introduced without
consultation with the industry and are
'Such changes do not provide the
policy predictability and business
certainty for the innovative medicines
industry envisaged in the MoU.
Medicines Australia's priority is to
pursue a solution to these problems.
We think it is a bad decision and
should be overturned.
In response, Senator Carr defended
the Government's action, while
pledging to work within the
Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) with Medicines Australia.
He said the pharmaceutical industry
was vital to the prosperity of the
nation 'but there's no sugar-coating
the facts. These are difficult times.
We are a small nation competing in
a tough global market. And the value
of the sector has fallen markedly in
'Blockbuster drugs are coming off
patent. Investor confidence has
wavered in the wake of the Global
Economic Crisis. There is constant
pressure to consolidate and cut costs.
Australian businesses and workers
are not immune from those trends.
Nor can the Government offer a
Senator Carr said the Federal Budget
was tight, and would not stretch to
every worthy proposal put on the
table, including the drugs listed
on the PBS.
'As you will be aware, five drugs
were recently added to the PBS,
and another seven were deferred.
At this time, the needs of patients
with serious conditions and
limited treatment options must
come first. We will reconsider
deferred applications when fiscal
circumstances change. And we
will work within the timeframes
we agreed in our Memorandum of
Understanding with the industry.
'But we simply cannot rely on the PBS
to resolve the structural pressures
facing this industry.
Pharma outlook tough
The outlook for the future of Australian
pharma includes withdrawn products,
a struggling generics sector and
wholesaler reorganisation as PBS
reforms take effect, according
to international data analyst
Datamonitor's white paper: Reforms
to the Pharmaceutical Benefits
Scheme in Australia.
Erin Brady, Australian healthcare
analyst at Datamonitor, said, 'As
further statutory price cuts and
"expanded and accelerated" price
disclosure is applied to substitutable
medicines by the PBS, downward
pricing pressures will affect everyone
in the industry. Some, however, will
suffer more than others.
'The local generics sector will
need to seek new efficiencies to
continue competing in the Australian
prescription pharmaceuticals market,
and wholesalers must assess their
strategic options in a changing market
According to Datamonitor, innovator
and generics manufacturing
companies have very different
opinions of the latest PBS reforms
package. Innovator companies were
involved in negotiating a memorandum
of understanding (MoU) with the
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