TIME FOR JOHN HOWARD TO TELL THE TRUTH ON CHANGES TO OUR PBS IN THE FREE
JULIA GILLARD M.P., Shadow Minister for Health
February 9, 2004
Prime Minister John Howard's statements today that the FTA deal has
protected the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme need to be backed up by more
than just his rhetoric - after all, his previous form has shown him to be
very loose with the truth.
Mr Howard must answer the following questions urgently:
Until all the relevant information is provided to the Australian public for
scrutiny, no-one can be certain that this is in Australia's national
interests and protects our access to affordable medicines. Our PBS system
is an important part of our healthcare system, a system that the Howard
Government has done nothing to protect and everything to undermine. Is the
FTA another step in this undermining?
- Have all the PBS issues been resolved as part of the deal?
If so, why will the FTA establish a Medicines Working Group? And why is
this Working Group not even mentioned in the DFAT Fact Sheets?
- Why has the Howard Government apparently agreed to an
appeals mechanism whereby industry can challenge the decisions of the
committees that advise the Howard Government on PBS listing and price?
Again, there is no mention of this appeals system in the DFAT Fact Sheets,
although it certainly is highlighted in the media release from the
pharmaceutical industry association.
- And what happened to change the Howard Government's mind on
this issue, which was firmly rejected in 2000 by the Tambling Review of the
- What do the proposed changes to the current Australian blood
plasma fractionation arrangements mean for the safety of blood products, and
which US-based firm is trying to muscle in on this market?
- Will Mr Howard assure the employees of Australian firms
which manufacture generic medicines that the changes to patents and
intellectual property protection will not result in any job losses?
9 February 2004
For further information contact:
Julia Gillard MP on 0417 361 637
Jamie Snashall on 0407 438 746