Gardasil got rejected a subsidy in Australia due to the high cost of the vaccine. However today the australian Prime Minister voiced his wish to change that decision. In other words, the australian taxpayers will ensure the profit of pharmaceutical corporation. Right?
Here is an interview transcript from The World Today:
ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister John Howard has now declared that a new vaccine for cervical cancer will be subsidised, despite the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommending against it.
Mr Howard says the Government will provide funding for the vaccine, it's just a question of when. The Prime Minister was responding to widespread outrage this morning from doctors and from some members of his own backbench, as Lynn Bell reports from Canberra.
LYNN BELL: CSL's application for the new cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, was rejected late yesterday. But this morning, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said the vaccine will be subsidised.
JOHN HOWARD: My view is that it will be subsidised, I'm sure of that. But the debate at the moment is about the terms and conditions, and you've got to remember that these companies do try and drive a very hard bargain. And it's our responsibility to have this vaccine available for the mass immunisation campaign and if agreement can be reached fairly soon, that mass campaign can still start on the first of January 2008.
LYNN BELL: The Prime Minister's comments were welcomed by the Chair of the Australian Divisions of General Practice, Doctor Tony Hobbs, who described yesterday's decision as a very sad event for Australian women.
TONY HOBBS: We're very pleased that the Prime Minister has actually taken a personal viewpoint about this. It's reassuring that he has an interest in this, we would want to see the vaccine listed as soon as possible, so that all Australian women have access to this vaccine in a very timely and affordable manner.
LYNN BELL: The Prime Minister says the price of the vaccine is the key issue at this point, and it's important that taxpayers do receive value for money.
JOHN HOWARD: You can't have a situation where you just accept the first request that's made by a company. I mean, companies know that they have a very strong position in relation to these drugs where there is a lot of support. But, let me make it very clear that this drug will end up being on the PBS list. It's a question of precisely when, and it's a question of the price, and the terms and conditions. And I think we have every reason to make sure that we get good value for the Australian taxpayer.
LYNN BELL: Dr Hobbs says he understands that point, but it's important that the mass immunisation campaign can begin as soon as possible.
TONY HOBBS: The negotiations need to take place in a very good and timely manner. We are talking about almost 250 women with cervical cancer in Australia each year dying. We are talking about almost 1,000 women developing cervical cancer in Australia each year. And we are also talking about nearly 15,000 with significant pre-cancerous lesions in Australia each year that need to be treated. So time is of the essence, and we would want to see this sorted out as soon as possible.
LYNN BELL: The Prime Minister says it's important to get good value for the Australian taxpayer. Do you see this kind of negotiation as acceptable?
TONY HOBBS: We need to keep in context that the PBS is a world leader in providing subsidised medicines to the Australian population, and we are certainly, at ADGP, sensitive to that effect that we do need cost-effective medicines. However, we need to then balance that with being able to put a cost on a life lost, for instance. And the cost of the mortality, morbidity associated with both cancer of the cervix and pre-cancer of the cervix, is enormous. And we need to make sure that cost is not haggled over unduly, and that Australian women have access to this vaccine in a timely manner.
LYNN BELL: The vaccine was developed by the Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer, and the Labor leader, Kim Beazley says he's also committed to ensuring the vaccine is subsidised.
source - The World Today