Improving Access to Medicines – antivenoms, Q fever and pandemic influenza vaccines supply

This measure ensures the ongoing production and supply of uniquely Australian antivenoms, and Q fever and pandemic influenza vaccines for the next six years.

Page last updated: 09 May 2017

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Why is this important?

Australia has an international reputation for venomous creatures, and antivenoms are crucial to treatment for bites from spiders and snakes and other organisms. On average, around 8,000 people a year present to hospital emergency departments with venomous injuries, and about 3,000 people are admitted for treatment. Two to four people die each year.

Q fever is commonly transmitted by human contact with herd animals such as cattle, sheep and goats, as well as dogs, cats and kangaroos. Without a Q fever vaccine, it is estimated that the number of Q fever cases would double, from a current average of 512 cases a year, increasing costs of care.

In the event of an influenza pandemic, vaccination is the key tool to limit the number of individuals infected. Vaccination allows individuals to be immunised without experiencing disease, and it prevents further spread of disease.

Who will benefit?

All Australians will be assured access to antivenoms through the production and supply of these products, thus helping to prevent acute illness and death.

The Australian Government will have a guaranteed supply from the sole global manufacturer of these antivenoms, Q fever and influenza vaccines for six years starting 2018–19.

How much will this cost?

The cost of this measure is not for publication due to commercial negotiations.

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