A new parliamentary report ‘The New Frontier: Delivering better health for all Australians’ is recommending significant reforms to the health care system to ensure Australians have better and faster access to the wave of new medicines and technologies.

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP said, ‘We are witnessing what will be a revolution in the treatment of many conditions, as our understanding of genomics and the development of precision medicine develops. In so many other areas we are also seeing progress in drugs and technology, which has been reflected in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.’

‘These innovations reflect the new frontier of medicine, which is giving hope to many for better treatments and technologies for conditions ranging from cancers to rare diseases. At its forefront, is the development of personalised or precision medicine, which is being delivered as our understanding of fields – like genomics – grows.’

Australia has one of the world’s best health systems for assessing new treatments and ensuring they are delivered in an affordable way to patients. However, the system needed to be reviewed for necessary upgrade to meet the challenges of many new innovations that will not neatly fit current health technology assessment processes. Submissions and testimony was given by industry groups including MTAA and Medicines Australia as well as researchers, patients, their families and consumer advocacy groups.

‘Throughout its 15-month inquiry, the Committee received over 200 submissions and held 13 days of public hearings in several capital cities. The Committee was moved by the testimony of patients and their families and inspired by the work of our researchers and medical scientists. The Committee was impressed by the professionalism of those working in the medicines and technology sectors and appreciative of the obvious dedication, co-operation and knowledge of those within the health department who assisted our deliberations in public and private hearings and through their submissions.’

‘I believe that all the Committee’s recommendations will make a real difference to the lives of Australian patients as well as industry and the R&D sector, including the clinical trials sector,’ Mr Zimmerman added.

Deputy Chair of the Committee, Dr Mike Freelander MP, spoke with Australian Health Journal relating to the Inquiry and report released today.

The bipartisan report makes 31 recommendations to reform Australia’s system for the regulation and reimbursement with the hope that patients will receive faster access to the latest medicines and technologies.

The final report can be read here https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/Newdrugs/Report

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