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HomeminewsHealth System to be Reviewed, Reformed

Health System to be Reviewed, Reformed

The Australian health system is to undergo the first major review and reform in 30 years. 

The review will be conducted by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review Reference Committee, which includes stakeholders from Government, industry, the health sector and, most importantly, the patient community.  

The HTA Review has a clear goal to reduce the time that it takes for Australian patients to access new health technologies. The Committee will be independently chaired by former senior public servant, Dr Peter Boxall AO. Other members are John Young (Medicines Australia); Professor Andrew Roberts AM (Clinical/Scientific Expert); Professor Andrew Wilson (Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee); Adriana Platona PSM (Government Representative); Dr Dawn Casey PSM (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation – NACCHO); and Ann Single (Patient Voice Initiative). 

Bold reform… includes reducing time to access new medicines, keeping pace with new and emerging technologies, and building on Australia’s capacity to provide patients timely access to quality therapeutic care

Following representations from Medicines Australia, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, agreed to expand the committee to include a second patient advocate and an additional member with recent scientific knowledge, including an understanding of the potential of future technologies for poorly addressed or unmet, medical needs. 

Medicines Australia Chair, Dr Anna Lavelle, said the appointment of two patient advocates – Dr Casey PSM and Ms Single – was crucial and very welcome. 

“The lived experience of patients and the impact and benefits of new medicines must be at the core of the Committee’s deliberations and decision making,” Dr Lavelle said. 

“The First Nations voice from NACCHO is vital. 

“We are delighted that the biopharmaceutical industry will be represented by Mr John Young, who is highly respected across the health sector in Australia and internationally. 

“A scientist by training, Mr Young served as the Group President and Senior Advisor to the CEO of Pfizer before his retirement this year. Mr Young has also served as Chair of the Medicines Australia Board from 2006-2007. 

“John has a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry, the Australian healthcare system, and a passion for optimising access to innovative medicines.” 

Dr Lavelle said it is crucial that the Chair operates completely independently of Government to lead the Committee to provide objective advice that will steer this important Review. 

“The outcomes must lead to health system improvement and meet future patient needs and demands,” Dr Lavelle said. 

“Following his long career in the senior levels of the public service, we are confident Dr Boxall’s breadth of experience and desire for system improvements will allow him to act independently of Government and seek wide ranging views and advice.” 

The HTA Review will focus on medicines, biotherapeutics, and vaccines and will also include any related diagnostic tests and medical devices. 

Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer said the HTA Review must ensure the Australian health system is equipped to embrace new medicines and technologies and meet the demands of future generations. 

“Bold reform is needed to ensure better health outcomes for all Australians,” Ms de Somer said. 

“This includes reducing time to access new medicines, keeping pace with new and emerging technologies, and building on Australia’s capacity to provide patients timely access to quality therapeutic care. 

“It is significant that the independently chaired HTA Review is a core component of the five-year Strategic Agreement signed this year by the Australian Government and Medicines Australia. 

“Medicines Australia will be very close to this Review at every stage,” Ms de Somer said. 

More information about Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review is available here.