FTA Update

The Government and the Opposition are in an arm wrestle over whether or not the Opposition’s amendments to prevent “evergreening” by big pharmaceuticals are necessary or not: the Prime Minister says they’re not necessary so Labor says in that case why not agree?

The academics who’ve researched the issue are being careful not to take political sides. They say that Labor’s amendments may not prevent evergreening.

They have released their submission to the Senate Select Committee which says, amongst other things:

“The text of the Agreement is unbalanced and most of the measures increase the pricing power of US drug companies operating in Australia. It is inconceivable, based on past practice, that they will not make use of that new pricing power.”

“Other measures will also have the effect of delaying the development and approval of generic versions of drugs. The major companies will, therefore, have a longer period free of competition, during which they can enjoy much higher prices than they could achieve in a competitive environment.

A recent study by the Australia Institute found these measures were likely to delay the development of generic drugs in Australia by around three years. It estimated the cost of this to the PBS for the five drugs examined by the study was more than $1.1 billion for the period 2006-2009. “

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