In this edition:

Medicine pricing reform the right prescription – Grattan Institute

The Grattan Institute recently released the Health Report – Cutting a better drug deal. The report reveals that Australians are paying up to $500 million more than they should per annum for prescription medicines and that government policies need to be implemented or overhauled to address the issue.

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) welcomes the report and supports many of its recommendations, agreeing that Australians pay double what UK patients pay and triple what New Zealand patients pay for prescriptions.

However, other bodies, such as Medicines Australia and the National Pharmaceutical Services Association, have been critical of the report, citing the limited sample of medicines included and the simplistic approach to a complex problem. According to Professor Stephen Duckett, author of Australians on average pay five times the best international price for a group of seven commonly prescribed drugs, one key recommended reform to address this price gap is the introduction of international benchmarking to standardise pricing.

Read the Health Report – Cutting a better drug deal here and Grattan Institute’s media release here.

Medicines Australia’s response to the report is available here, while SHPA’s can be read here.

New fund to fast-track medical breakthroughs now open

The State Labor Government has opened a research fund dedicated to fast-tracking the latest breakthroughs in health and medical research. The fund focuses on everyday care and treatment and will support the translation of early stage health and medical research into better health outcomes for patients. The fund will also leverage funding from philanthropic, industry and international sources.

A 16-member Science, Medical Research and Technology Panel has been established to drive leadership and excellence in Victorian health and medical research.

Two levels of funding are available of up to $100,000 and $500,000 respectively.

Health services, industry, medical research institutes and education institutes with a focus on early research are eligible to apply. Applications are now open and close on 14 April.

Read the media release here or here for more information and for how to apply.

Right to know – changes to legislation for donor-conceived people

New laws allowing all donor-conceived Victorians the right to access information about their donors are now in force. The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2016 came into effect on 1 March 2017 meaning all donor-conceived persons can now access details, such as their donor’s full name, date of birth and ethnic origins without the consent of the donor. Previously, only those conceived from donations made after 1 July 1998 had access to such information.

Russell Kennedy acts for the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) and Michael Gorton AM, Principal, was VARTA’s inaugural chair.

Read more about the legislative changes here.