News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Australian drug pricing scheme under pressure in free trade talks

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 29 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:247
  1. Bob Burton
  1. Canberra

    Political parties and consumer groups in the United States and Australia have warned that a free trade agreement between the two countries will result in increased costs for prescription drugs in Australia.

    Lobbying by the US drug industry has persuaded the US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, to propose changes to the Australian government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to ensure higher prices for drugs under patent. The final detail of the agreement is currently being negotiated in Washington DC.

    Under the current scheme, the Australian government subsidises approved drugs and negotiates heavily discounted prices from the …

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