Friday, March 05, 2004

Remember last month when Aussie Prime Miinister Howard said that the US free trade deal wasn't going to affect the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)? Well, it seems he was wrong:

...critics were especially worried by a new element to the agreement - a clause not seen in the summary last month. In a letter to US trade representative Robert Zoellick, Trade Minister Mark Vaile appears to give drug companies the power to challenge the price of their products on the PBS [...] Critics of the deal are also concerned the agreement could delay the arrival of cheap generic drugs onto the market, encourage direct advertising of prescription drugs to consumers and give drug companies new powers to challenge decisions of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which assesses new drugs for PBS listing according to their value for money.

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