Improving Access to Medicines – encouraging greater use of generic and biosimilar medicines

Page last updated: 08 May 2018

Improving Access to Medicines – encouraging greater use of generic and biosimilar medicines (PDF 118 KB)

The Government will increase its investment in new medicines by $2.4 billion. The Government will implement measures to increase the use of generic and biosimilar medicines and provide $5.0 million over three years from 2017–18 to continue the biosimilar medicines awareness campaign established as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Access and Sustainability Package announced in May 2015.

Educational material and training modules for health providers, along with changes to prescribing software, will increase clinician, pharmacist and consumer support for generic and biosimilar medicines. Changes to prescribing software will allow medicine ingredient name prescribing by default, without impinging on the professional judgment of clinicians. Doctors will continue to have the final say in prescribing medicines for patients.

Why is this important?

The Government recognises the important role that generic and biosimilar medicines play in terms of providing access to affordable medicines for consumers.

Biologic medicines are high value, high expenditure medicines. International evidence shows greater price reductions are available for these medicines than for lower cost medicines. By supporting generic and biosimilar education and uptake, this measure will deliver cheaper medicines through faster and greater price reductions to higher cost biologic or originator branded medicines.

While this measure supports uptake of generic and biosimilar medicines, it does not restrict prescriber choice. It preserves the prescriber’s ability to exercise professional and clinical judgment if they want to prescribe the reference biologic or originator branded medicine.

Who will benefit?

Improved uptake of generic medicines and biosimilar versions of biologic medicines will mean greater choice and convenience, and in some cases, better value for money for patients.

How much will this cost?

This will reduce costs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by $330.8 million from 2017–18 to 2021–22.

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