New register to improve cancer detection passes Parliament

Legislation passed in the Commonwealth Parliament has established a new National Cancer Screening Register aimed at saving lives through increased detection, treatment and prevention of cancers.

The Register will replace separate State and Territory cervical cancer screening registers and facilitate the introduction of the Human Papilloma Virus test for more effective screening of cervical cancer.

It will also remove the outdated paper-based Bowel Cancer Screening Program and facilitate the expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

The Register will aid in timely and efficient notification and follow-up processes to save lives.

To read the media alert, click here.

ACCC investigation into GlaxoSmithKline price increase of Panadol Osteo

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) has concluded its investigation into allegedly misleading statements made by GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”) regarding its decision to increase the price of Panadol Osteo. The statements linked the price increase to the delisting of the medication from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (“PBS”).

The ACCC found that, while GSK did not contravene the Australian Consumer Law for misleading conduct, the statement was ambiguous. The statement did not clearly explain the reasons for the price increase and left open to interpretation the extent to which the PBS changes were the cause of the price increase.

The ACCC found delisting of Panadol Osteo from the PBS resulted in some modest costs to GSK but was only one of a number of reasons for the price increase. The ACCC warned against companies linking a price increase to one factor; for example, a government policy, when a number of other factors exist.

To read the ACCC press release, click here.

ASIC crackdown on life insurance sector

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) has raised concerns in relation to the rate of denied claims in the life insurance sector. A review by ASIC has revealed high rates of rejected claims on insurance policies sold directly to consumers without financial advice.

While 90% of claims are paid in the first instance, ASIC has revealed that claims for total and permanent disability have the highest rate of rejection at 16%, followed by claims for trauma at 14%. Three insurers are said to have significantly higher denial rates in these areas, with one denying 37% of total and permanent disability claims.

ASIC will now liaise with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (“APRA”) to establish a public reporting framework for life insurance claims and outcomes.