Battle in Australia over access to cancer drugs

Access to cancer drugs in Australia is coming to a head after a bitter tit for tat over a pharma push to fast-track oncology treatment.

The industry is calling for a more flexible and fast-tracked approach to approving new cancer drugs, claiming the current system is outdated. Australia ranks 18th out of 20 comparable OECD countries on access to innovative new medicines, with Australians waiting longer for subsidised cancer medicines than European counterparts, the industry trade body says.

But the drug approval body, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, has responded saying any change to the approval process would “greatly increase the cost to the community and diminish the sustainability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme without any commensurate gain in health outcomes”….

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