Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines available faster

The time taken for medicines to list on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be significantly reduced under recommendations outlined in the report Working together to improve the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - Review of the Post PBAC Processes Report released today.

The Review of post-Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) processes has been a collaboration between the Department of Health and Ageing and Medicines Australia.

In recent years, processes for listing medicines for government subsidy via the PBS have become more complex and there have been delays in having some complex and high-cost drugs listed.

Although the time between PBAC recommendation and subsidised use in the community has decreased from 9.5 months in 1995 to 5 months now, the report recommends further reducing this time. One recommendation made by the review team is for some drugs to be 'fast tracked' through the process. This could see some medicines listing within 6 to 8 weeks of being recommended by the PBAC.

The report has also recommended modernising my Department's information technology systems so that the list of new PBS drugs that can now be prescribed by doctors is made available every month on-line instead of three times a year in print as is the present case.

This is a timely report because on Sunday, the Government announced the structure of the independent review mechanism for applications to list drugs on the PBS.

The Commonwealth is committed to the fastest possible access to affordable medicines and this report will help to ensure a good system continues to improve.

The Review of Post PBAC Processes Report may be downloaded from the PBS website at

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