7 September 2021
“A new era in securing medicine supply for Australian patients,” is how the peak body for affordable medicines today heralded its new five-year Strategic Agreement, signed with the Australian Government.
The Generic and Biosimilars Medicines Association (GBMA) negotiated the new Strategic Agreement a year early, out of mutual concern for millions of vulnerable Australians, who are struggling to access their vital medicines.
These ‘at risk’ medicines treat everything from infections, depression and anxiety to high cholesterol, hypertension and reflux. If not treated properly, these conditions can become very serious, very quickly.
The Independent Chair of the GBMA, Ms Jane Halton AO PSM, said that Australia was in the midst of another frightening global, and national, surge of COVID-19 which “pulled the curtain back on how vulnerable Australia was to international disruption of the supply of vital medicines.”
“On behalf of all Australians, the affordable medicines industry is stepping up and committing to hold additional stock, of four to six months in country, to better protect patients against supply chain volatility,” Ms Halton said.
This commitment is the centrepiece of the new GBMA Strategic Agreement. Witnessing the (virtual) signing of the agreement with the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Ms Halton said the GBMA had achieved these much-needed reforms to secure medicine supplies for Australian patients.
Minister Hunt said that the landmark agreement with GBMA will further strengthen Australia’s world-leading Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for patients and ensure improved stability, predictability and viability for the medicines industry.
“These agreements will reduce the cost of prescription medicines for individuals and taxpayers and bolster the supply of medicines available through the PBS,” Minister Hunt said.
“They will also ensure that pharmacy shelves across Australia are continuously stocked with PBS medicines and that Australians will have early access to new life changing medicines regardless of where they live.
I want to thank and acknowledge the GBMA for its ongoing partnership with Government, through these negotiations, and through successive Strategic Agreements, which continue to provide significant benefits for Australian patients.”
The generic and biosimilar industry contributes more than two thirds of all the medicines dispensed on the PBS each year.
In a joint response from the GBMA Board, members observed, “With patients as our absolute (and shared) priority, we believe the solution to surety of supply must be industry led and government enabled. With this new Agreement providing the right policy levers, we have committed ourselves to substantially increase our own stockpiles of vital medicines stored in country. We have managed to do this, together with the Australian Government, without burdening taxpayers.”
The GBMA CEO, Ms Marnie Peterson, said the new Strategic Agreement, that begins in mid-2022, was firmly aimed at protecting all Australians against medicine shortages as well as delivering further savings to the PBS, to the benefit of the broader economy.
“The association has also reconfirmed its commitment to working with Government on the ‘Repurposing of Medicines’ initiative, in an effort to further expand patient access and advance the availability of treatments in Australia,” Ms Peterson said.
“At the heart of all our considerations are Australian patients and we are proud to partner with the Australian Government to maintain a world class health system.” ENDS
The Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association Executive Board
|Ms Jane Halton AO PSM||GBMA Independent Chair
Chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
Co-Chair of the COVAX initiative
|Mr Dennis Bastas||Strategic Agreement Lead Negotiator, CEO and Chair, Arrotex Pharmaceuticals|
|Mr Sylvain Vigneault||Strategic Agreement Negotiation Team, Country Manager, Viatris Australia|
|Mr Mark Crotty||Strategic Agreement Negotiation Team, CEO and Managing Director, Juno Pharmaceuticals|
|Mr Guy Strong||Country Head Australia and New Zealand, Sandoz Australia|
|Ms Lisa Golden||Group General Manager – Marketing, Arrotex Australia|
|Mr Juan Villar||Senior Vice President North East Asia-Pacific, Fresenius Kabi.|
The Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) is the peak representative body of generic and biosimilar medicine suppliers in Australia.
Its members ensure that all Australians are offered high quality generic and biosimilar medicines, whilst providing affordable community health outcomes that benefit all Australians.
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