If you’ve ever been prescribed medicines by your doctor, chances are you’ve encountered the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – even if you didn’t realise it.
The PBS is an Australian Government program that makes medicines more affordable. It’s part of the government’s broader National Medicines Policy.
The PBS began as a limited scheme in 1948 with free medicines for pensioners and a list of life-saving and disease preventing medicines free of charge for others in the community. It has grown a lot since then and now subsidises the cost of medicine for most medical conditions.
For a brief overview of the PBS and how it works watch this short video.
And if you’ve ever wondered how medicines go from being just an idea, to the shelf in your pharmacy, read this article from The Conversation.
So we now know how medicines are developed and how the PBS works. The next step is having medicines approved to be listed on the PBS. Medicines aren’t automatically listed once they become available. They have to go through a process involving the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). This ensures the medicines are safe and cost-effective.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) is an independent expert body appointed by the Australian Government. Members include doctors, health professionals, health economists and consumer representatives.
The PBAC’s primary role is to recommend new medicines for listing on the PBS. No new medicine can be listed unless the committee makes a positive recommendation.
When recommending a medicine for listing, the PBAC takes into account:
Find out more about the PBAC and its current membership.
The PBAC meets three times a year, usually in March, July and November.
In addition to considering the clinical and economic information provided by the ‘sponsor’ of a medicine (usually a pharmaceutical company), the PBAC also welcomes comments from patients, carers, members of the public, health professionals or members of consumer interest groups.
Musculoskeletal Australia (MSK) strongly supports the submission of consumer input to the consideration of medicines by the PBAC. We can help you provide this input in two ways:
Some tips to keep in mind when choosing this second option are provided by Patient Voice Initiative.
Find out the details of the next PBAC meeting:
N.B. The results of the July meeting of PBAC are not yet publicly available.
The outcomes regarding musculoskeletal relevant medicines at the March meeting of the PBAC are provided here.
If you have any questions or would like more information, we’re here to help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 263 265.
Articles and links for more information.