A strategic agreement to secure a six-month stockpile of medicines is a welcome step towards mitigating medicine shortages in Australia, the AMA said.
The Medicines Supply Security Guarantee will start on 1 July 2023, following legislation which passed through both chambers of Parliament in early December.
The Federal Government, Medicines Australia and the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association signed a five-year strategic agreement obligating medicine suppliers to hold either four or six months’ supply of certain medicines, to build up a national stockpile.
The AMA said the Guarantee is a welcome step towards mitigating medicine shortages and said it had been calling on the Government to create a comprehensive strategy to address shortages in Australia.
The AMA Federal Council passed a motion in June supporting the development of policy and infrastructure to improve access to medicines, improve population and individual health outcomes, and reduce the disparity in health outcomes for vulnerable groups.
Vice President Dr Chris Moy, who has been a member of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Medicine Shortages Working Party throughout the pandemic, said the AMA would closely monitor the impacts of this policy.
The agreement also aims to have an expected investment of approximately $5 billion into new PBS medicines listings over the five years through changed statutory pricing systems and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme New Medicines Funding Guarantee announced in 2020.
At the time of writing there were 264 shortages of medicines in Australia, 33 of which were critical. There were 52 anticipated shortages.
The Strategic Agreement media release is available here.