Wednesday May 10, 2023
In its second budget, the Albanese Government delivered a suite of measures aimed at mitigating the rising cost of living, in particular for Australian patients struggling with the burden of chronic disease.
The peak body for affordable medicines, the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) commended the Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, the Treasurer, the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP and the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, for budget reforms that will provide fiscal relief, for many Australians, including significant investment for bulk billing services.
The Independent Chair of the GBMA, Professor Jane Halton AO PSM, said that facing a challenging economic environment, the Albanese Government delivered a budget that places patient benefits at the centre of healthcare reforms.
“This budget reflects the Treasurer’s dual agenda of doing more to protect Australians against the rising cost of living without further fuelling inflation,” Professor Halton said. “By our very nature, the affordable medicines sector is closely aligned to those aims.
Patients and taxpayers already receive the benefits of nearly two thirds of the PBS volume being delivered by the generic and biosimilar medicines sector, but more can be achieved.” Professor Halton said biosimilar uptake remained an untapped source of savings for the Government and could help offset many of its budget measures.
“We know one in five Australians are struggling with two or more chronic diseases(1). The costs to them, and the health budget, is staggering,” Professor Halton said. “This is why we need measures, such as My Medicare, to help patients better navigate, and afford, the multiple medical services they need.”
The CEO of the GBMA, Ms Marnie Peterson said the GBMA would continue to collaborate closely, with the Government, to co-design policies that actively incentivise patients, and their doctors, to support biosimilar uptake.
“We know that channelling the significant savings from biosimilar uptake to important healthcare measures, can ensure much needed programs support healthcare sustainability for the long-term,” Ms Peterson said.
“As the Government continues on its budget repair path, GBMA looks forward to working with it to ensure all Australians can continue to access affordable, high-quality medicines, whenever and wherever they need them.”
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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 the highest quality generic and biosimilar medicines in the world whilst providing affordable community health outcomes that benefit all Australians.
Biosimilar medicines are highly similar versions of the original, or ‘reference’, brand of a biological medicine. They are subject to the same regulatory standards and are equally safe and effective at treating the same diseases as the original biological medicine.(3)
Biosimilar brands of medicine come onto the market after the patent for the equivalent reference brand of a biological medicine has expired. They provide more brand options for the same clinical results and introduce competition into the medicines market. They have been in use internationally for more than 15 years.
2. Australian Government. Department of Health and Aged Care. About Medicines. Available online: https://www.health.gov.au/topics/medicines/about-medicines. (Accessed on 31 January 2023).
3. Australian Government. Department of Health and Aged Care. Biosimilar Medicines Regulation. Available online: Biosimilar medicines regulation | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)