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Government Strikes Right Balance with PBS Reform

AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, today congratulated the Government on a PBS reform package that is evidence of close consultation // with the AMA, and which delivers for patients.

Dr Haikerwal said the AMA is especially pleased that the draconian conditions and red tape associated with the authority prescription system have been eased.

'The Government has agreed that the expertise in prescribing medicines for serious and chronic conditions belongs with the doctor and not a bureaucrat at the end of a phone,' Dr Haikerwal said.

'These changes, which will affect around 200 medicines, will free up doctors to spend more time doing what they do best – seeing and caring for patients.

'We estimate that streamlining of the system will eliminate around 70 per cent of the phone calls that doctors have to make to Medicare Australia to fill authority scripts.

'Equally important is the decision to maintain the system whereby the doctor has the right to tick the 'not for substitution' box on prescriptions, ensuring that the intended medicine goes to the patient.

'This prevents brand confusion, and preserves the clinical independence of doctors to prescribe the best medicine for the patient and their particular condition.

'Overall, the reforms will make new and generic medicines more accessible and affordable for patients.

'These reforms will ensure the quality use of medicines, and this will contribute to a more viable PBS well into the future.

'In response to lobbying from the AMA and others, the Government will ensure that prices for medicines are set in a competitive market using a system of price disclosure, which means the Government will pay the actual price at which the medicine will be sold.

'It is vital, however, that any savings the Government makes from these reforms is ploughed back into the PBS to meet future demand for new and expensive medicines ,' Dr Haikerwal said.

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