Posted April 09, 2018 18:21:51 As we head into a new year, many Australians are going to be stocking up on generic medicines for their health and wellbeing, but not all will be able to afford to do so.
A few months ago, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement saying the generic drug market had a significant and growing gap between what patients can afford and what doctors are able to prescribe.
“It is increasingly important that the government supports the growth of generic drugs in the community and provide the funding for that growth,” AMA President Professor Peter Haines said.
“There is a significant gap between the prices of generics and the costs of drugs prescribed by doctors.”‘
Growth’In February, the AMA called on the Abbott government to invest $200 million in generic medicines, saying “this is a critical opportunity for Australia”.
“We want to be part of the solution, but the answer to growing the market and expanding access to affordable generic medicines is not for the government to decide what to do,” Professor Hainys statement said.
“The AMA’s stance on generic drugs is that the only way to address the cost gap is by creating incentives for generics to grow.”
The AMA also recommended the government increase the number of doctors who are able and willing to prescribe generic drugs, saying it would “help increase the supply of generic medicines”.
“If we can get people into the practice, if we can keep them working, then we’ll be able give them the choice,” Professor Kym Parker said.
What you need to know about coronavirus:The full coronaviruses story The AMA statement also suggested the government “should invest $150 million in a new health infrastructure bank”, which would allow the state and territory governments to establish a $1.3 billion Health Infrastructure Finance Corporation (HIFIC) to be used to invest in generic drugs.
The Commonwealths Health Infrastructure Agency (CHA) has also called for a $2.2 billion injection into generic drugs to help “provide affordable access to generic medicines”, and is also calling for a review of the Generic Medicines Pricing Scheme (GMPS), which has “shown some significant progress” in helping to alleviate the supply gap.
The AMA and CHA also said the government should “implement a national pharmacare scheme” to provide more generics, and “support a national generic medicines procurement system”.
“The federal government should increase funding to the Commonwealths National Pharmacy Board to help support a nationwide pharmacare initiative,” the AMA said.ABC Health Reporter Jonathan Evans has more.