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GHLF Australia submission for the National Medicines Policy Review
Australia’s National Medicines Policy (NMP) is a high-level framework that aims to deliver positive health outcomes for all Australians through their access to and appropriate use of medicines. GHLF Australia recently submitted feedback for the NMP Review on behalf of the GHLF Australia community.
By Rosemary Ainley
Published 12 October 2021
Submitted 8 October 2021
Background from the Australian Government Department of Health’s Review of the Health National Medicines Policy Discussion Paper.
Published in 2000, the current Australia’s National Medicines Policy (NMP) aims to deliver positive health outcomes for all Australians through their access to and appropriate use of medicines. The NMP is a well-established and universally endorsed framework based on partnerships between consumers and all segments of the medicines sector to promote the NMP’s four central objectives.
- Timely access to the medicines that Australians need, at a cost that individuals and the community can afford;
- Medicines meeting appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy;
- Quality use of medicines; and
- Maintaining a responsible and viable medicines industry.
The NMP is a high-level document that concisely outlines these four objectives, and identifies the partners responsible for achieving these objectives. The policy also discusses the need for strong alignment and coordination to meet the challenges and overcome the complexity associated with achieving each of the objectives.
The objectives and the principles of the policy continue to resonate today. However, the medicines policy landscape has changed in the twenty years since its publication. Therapeutic and technological innovations are expanding treatment options and improving health outcomes.
Patients’ expectations have grown, and increased knowledge and insight have driven the immediacy of access to the latest technologies. Patient voices are also better organised through social media and disease-specific groups. Australians are living longer, often with multiple chronic conditions and healthcare delivery is being transformed by digital advances.
It is therefore appropriate that the NMP is reviewed to ensure that the changes in the health system environment are addressed, and where applicable, the policy updated to take account of these changes.
The primary purpose of this consultation process is to provide the Review Committee with an appreciation of the breadth of stakeholders’ views, to support a refresh of the NMP. The Review’s Terms of Reference address areas that will support this refresh as a high-level policy framework, rather than reviewing the activities and programs aimed at delivering the policy.
Stakeholders were encouraged to provide their feedback towards supporting a refresh of the high-level framework. This will assist in future-proofing the policy, as adopting detailed program-specific feedback within the policy risks dating the revised NMP and reducing its universality.
GHLF Australia took the opportunity to submit feedback for the NMP Review on behalf of the GHLF Australia and CreakyJoints Australia communities.
We would like to thank Penelope McMillan, Annie McPherson and Janelle Bowden for contributing to this submission.