MEDICINES AUSTRALIA CALLS FOR REFORM OF BENEFITS SCHEME
Medicines Australia, a national body representing research-based drugmakers,
has called for the government to reform the country's Pharmaceutical Benefits
Scheme. The body, working in collaboration with Australia's National Centre
for Social and Economic Modeling, has suggested the introduction of medical
savings accounts (MSAs), as an alternative to private health insurance. MSAs
are similar to bank accounts with patients depositing money to pay for healthcare.
Any savings accumulated at the end of the year would then be kept for future
use. However, Medicines Australia stressed that this system would also require
the creation of a government safety net for poorer people or those who suffer
exceptionally high health costs.
Other reforms recommended by the group include means-tested co-payments as well as co-payments based on national health status. The government has identified the treatment of arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health as national health priorities. Under the proposals, Patients would get discounts for drugs indicated for these conditions, but pay higher prices for treatments in other areas.