Self Funding of Higher-cost Medicines Needs Public Discussion

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 26 May, 2014

With self funding of higher-cost medicines becoming more common in Australia, leading health authorities are calling for public discussion on the issue.

Speaking  at the eighth biennial National Medicines Symposium (NMS), Dr Jennie Louise from the University of Adelaide said there was  limited formal policy debate or public discussion is occurring around the issue.

“Even when there is no funding or support available to reduce the cost of medicines, there is evidence that patients want to be told about all the treatment options, even if they can’t afford them," Dr Louise said. “In the future, I predict greater pressure by patient groups to fund non cost-effective medicines.
“However, the establishment of a new market for self-funded medicines may undermine the bargaining power of government.
Dr Louise says that over time this will further increase the costs of healthcare – for example by increased consultation times and administration, monitoring treatment of side effects and other related secondary care that is required for people on high-cost treatment.
“This issue will only continue to escalate, and we need more public awareness alongside firm debate on how to address self-funded treatment,” she says.
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