Articles on PBS

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Donald Trump answers a question from CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer. Mike Blake/Reuters

Why presidential debates need real-time fact-checking

With the presidential debates being derided as evidence we live in a “post-fact" political world, why aren't the moderators “truth vigilantes”?
Representatives of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries at a press conference in Atlanta, after a deal was reached. EPA/Erik S. Lesser

Why biologics were such a big deal in the Trans Pacific Partnership

Before the last round of negotiations, only a handful of issues remained in the way of concluding the TPP. A potential deal-breaker for Australia was intellectual property protections for biologics.
The PBAC must make tough decisions about which cancer drugs to subsidise. Eric Gaillard/Reuters

New cancer drugs are very expensive - here’s how we work out value for our money

Most of us would agree that cancer drugs should be listed on the PBS, no matter how dear. But our health system can't afford all of them. How then are decisions about which drugs to subsidise made?
Off-label use is when an approved medicine is prescribed for a different reason, at a different dose, or in different patient groups than originally intended. Benny Lin/Flickr

Explainer: why are off-label medicines prescribed?

The off-label use of medicines is not illegal and it doesn't mean regulators have specifically "disapproved" its use. But there are a number of issues to consider before using a medicine off-label.
Insulin, which is used for controlling diabetes and has been in the market for 30 years, was the first biologic. Yusmar Yahaya/Flickr

Explainer: what are biologics and biosimilars?

Biologics are widely accepted as the most effective way of treating certain diseases. They have become the fastest-growing class of therapeutic compounds, with about 300 now available for human use.
A group of oncologists have called on cancer patients to challenge the high prices charged by pharmaceutical companies for new cancer drugs. ep_jhu/Flickr

If we don’t talk about value, cancer drugs will become terminal for health systems

Hope, fear, and desperation, along with the unique characteristics of the cancer drug market, create a “perfect storm” that continues to drive up prices for cancer drugs.
The leaked measures would have benefited consumers and taxpayers, with small imposition on the lucrative bottom lines of pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry. NVinacco/Flickr

Budget entrée disappoints but PBS reform still on the menu

Despite numerous leaks about impending changes to medicines policy, the budget showed savings of just $252.2 million over five years from adjusting the price of a small number of PBS-listed drugs.
Patients pay a contribution towards the cost of their medication to the pharmacist who then claims the difference between what they paid and the patient contribution from the government. Gustavo Gomes/Flickr

Explainer: what is the Community Pharmacy Agreement?

Australians make an average of 14 visits to the pharmacy for medicines and advice every year but most don't know about the agreement that governs how we buy government-subsidised medicines from them.
A rise in the co-payment for medicines may lead to an increase in the rates of discontinuation for some drugs. Michael Cheng

Hidden cost of increasing drug co-payment poses a high risk

Apart from proposing a co-payment for visiting doctors, the last federal budget also contained a proposal to increase the level of co-payments for medications. The government seems to have given little…
Only recently has conversation about access to new drugs been moving to acknowledging the need for a community debate about affordability as well. pixxiestails/Flickr

Why the public should have a say in high-cost drug subsidies

Decisions about public subsidies for high-cost drugs are naturally quite complex. And while patients have increasingly been given a voice in the process, the views of the wider community have generally…
Central to the processes of the PBS is the idea that drugs with identical or similar clinical outcomes should have similar prices. Thinglass/Shutterstock

How the US trade deal undermined Australia’s PBS

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Reduced access to generics drugs has contributed to the 80% rise in the cost of Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

It’s time to fix the free trade bungle on the cost of medicines

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
It’s not yet clear how the Coalition will weigh health issues against economic priorities. jdwfoto/Shutterstock

Coalition’s policy bodes ill for health in free trade negotiations

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
The budget has introduced a $7 co-payment for visits to the general practitioners. Dave Hunt/AAP

Federal budget 2014: health experts react

The Abbott government has announced a A$20 billion medical research “future fund”, to help discover what Treasurer Joe Hockey calls the “cures of the future”, paid for with money generated as a result…
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is the tenth largest Commonwealth Government program, now costing over $9 billion a year. Taki Steve/Flickr

PBS savings: two sides of the coin

When it comes to pharmaceuticals expenditure, the National Commission of Audit’s proposals rate highly on any policy change scale. Its two main recommendations are designed to reduce the overall cost to…

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