Promoting consumer involvement in medicine decisions welcomed

The appointment of consumer leader, Jo Watson, as the inaugural deputy chairperson of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, is an encouraging recognition of patients’ interests in deciding which medicines should be subsidised, the Consumers Health Forum’s CEO, Leanne Wells, said today.

“We congratulate Jo on her appointment.  She brings great experience as an advocate for health consumers.  Her elevation to deputy chair following the recent appointment of a second consumer nominee, Bel Harper to the PBAC, highlights the importance of consumer insights and evidence when it comes to which medicines should be recommended to the Federal Health Minister for subsidy,” Ms Wells said.

“Approaches to health technology assessment generally are improving and evolving world-wide. Recognising the value of patient knowledge and experience of living with a condition and understanding how medications fit with wider treatment plans and lived experience are important elements in the decision  making process and to ensuring funding is directed to high value care”

  “We welcome the move by the Government and chairman Professor Andrew Wilson to boost support for the consumer voice on the PBAC.    Better decisions are made and better quality of care and health outcomes result when consumers are involved in healthcare decision making.  In PBAC’s case it is pleasing to see the recognition of the value that consumer insights can bring to evaluating the cost effectiveness of new medicines and their consideration for government subsidy.

“We hope to see the Government seek to work in new and progressive ways with the consumer sector, systemically involving consumer voices in all aspects of national health policy.”

Jo Watson is deputy chair of the Consumers Health Forum and formerly executive director of National Association of People with HIV Australia.  She is a member of the Independent Panel conducting the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation and also chairs the Health Technology Assessment Consumer Consultative Committee, formed to improve consumer engagement in that sector.



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