Changes to Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

The Minister for Health congratulated Dr Suzanne Hill, the Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), who will be taking up a new role with the World Health Organization.

Page last updated: 05 February 2015

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5 February 2015

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, today congratulated Dr Suzanne Hill, the Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), who will be taking up a new role with the World Health Organization.

Dr Hill will step down as Chair of the PBAC after its meeting in March.

“Under Dr Hill’s leadership, the PBAC has maintained its reputation as one of the premier technical and scientific advisory bodies in Australia,” Ms Ley said.

“During Dr Hill’s time as chair, the PBAC recommended many important new and innovative medicines for conditions including Hepatitis C, advanced melanoma, and cystic fibrosis, all of which have improved the quality of life of thousands of Australians.

“The role of the PBAC is a challenging one, navigating the difficult path of balancing the needs of patients, clinicians and industry with the complexities of making new and high cost medicines available for all Australians.

“Importantly, Dr Hill also strengthened the input of patients into the PBAC process, a goal which will continue to enrich the committee’s deliberations.”

The process to identify a new Chair has commenced.

Ms Ley also announced four new appointments to the PBAC today.

Professor Robyn Ward and Professor Andrew Roberts, long standing members of the PBAC with expertise in oncology and haematology, have been re-appointed for an additional four years.

“I would like to thank Professor Ward and Professor Roberts for their unfailing commitment to the work of the PBAC and their outstanding advice to improve the health of all Australians,” Ms Ley said.

“Their re appointment ensures that the Committee has the required expertise and experience in areas where the number and complexity of new therapies being submitted for subsidy is increasing.”

Dr Elizabeth Marles and Dr Thomas Snelling have also been appointed to the PBAC for four years.

Dr Marles, who was nominated by the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioner (RACGP), is an experienced GP and President of the RACGP. Dr Snelling, who was nominated by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, is an expert in infectious disease medicines and vaccines.

Ms Ley also thanked Professor Jim Buttery and Professor David Isaacs for their contributions to the PBAC over the last eight years.

Following the November meeting, the PBAC announced 39 positive recommendations for 35 conditions including melanoma, breast and lung cancers with the total Government expenditure for the Committee’s recommendations to be over $1.5 billion over the forward estimates.

“Since October 2013, the Australian Government has funded $984 million in new and improved medicines for inclusion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to benefit thousands of Australians on the advice of the PBAC,” Ms Ley said.

“And at its next meeting in March, the PBAC will consider a record number of new submissions, demonstrating that Australia is well and truly open for business.”

Minister Ley’s Media Contact: James Murphy – 0478 333 974

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