The price of prescription medicines will not rise as a result of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The Australian Government gave this undertaking going into the negotiations and has delivered on this commitment.
The Minister for Health and Ageing can only list a medicine on the PBS following a recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). This will not change under the FTA. All that has changed is that the system will become more transparent and accountable.
The government rejects the assertions made by Professor David Henry and his colleagues. Their claims are baseless. There is nothing in the Free Trade Agreement that would give rise to increases in the prices paid for pharmaceuticals on the PBS.
One of the inaccurate assertions made by the Henry group is that the independent review mechanism will become an appeals process that will have the capacity to overturn PBAC recommendations. The independent review mechanism will not constitute an appeals process. The most it would be able to do is to suggest that the PBAC take another look at a particular application.
There is nothing in the Free Trade Agreement to change the fundamentals of the processes for the listing and pricing of drugs on the PBS.