Election over. What now for medicine?

It will be another 3 years (or so) before we get to enjoy our next federal democracy sausage, so in the meantime, what changes can we expect to see in the pharmaceutical sector? Let’s have a look at what the election results will mean for medicines:

  • The LNP has promised $614 million in funding for a new drug discovery centre to “…fast track new medicines so that our researchers can work in Australia rather than overseas”. Rare diseases including cancer as well as unmet needs will be the focus of research.
  • The PBS Safety Net threshold will be lowered by 12 scripts for concession card holders and the equivalent of 2 scripts for non-concession card holders from 1 January 2020. This means free or cheaper medicines for families and the elderly, in particular, with multiple health challenges.
  • $500 million has been promised to fund research into better testing, diagnosis and treatment with precision medicine through the Genomics Health Futures Mission. ‘Precision medicine’ refers to the mapping and analysis of a patient’s DNA with the aim of tailoring a medicine or treatment specific to their cellular make-up.
  • The Million Minds Mission will receive $125 million for research into new mediciations and treatments for mental health challenges.
  • To help community pharmacies manage their cash flow, the time frame for PBS payments will be reduced from 16 days to 2-9 days.
  • The future of an optional $1 medicine discount in the PBS co-payment remains uncertain, with the Morrison government only committing to ‘consider it’s ongoing operation’.
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