News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Australia makes concessions on drug approvals after US pressure

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 19 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:425
  1. Bob Burton
  1. Canberra

    Australia has bowed to pressure from the US government and agreed to major changes to its system of regulating drugs in a free trade agreement.

    Public health advocates believe that the changes—advocated by the US drug industry—threaten thefoundations of Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme. Under the scheme, drugs can be approvedonly if recommended by the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, with their price benchmarked against generic drugs that deliver comparable health benefits (31 January p 247).

    Although the text of the agreement is not yet available, a US government briefing document states …

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