In an embarrassing start to the 2022 election campaign, Labor has been caught out lying again when it comes to their record in health.
During his appearance on Insiders this morning, Labor Deputy Leader Richard Marles made an astonishing attempt to re-write history, claiming that while in government, his party did not stop listing medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
However, as their own Budget papers in 2011 show, Labor stopped the listing of medications on the PBS for conditions such as chronic pain, schizophrenia and lung disease.
In addition, Labor’s then Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon put out a media release dated 25 February 2011, which states:
“The Government has also considered a number of other medicines, such as medicines for conditions where existing treatments are already available on the PBS, but has decided to defer listing of those medicines at the current time. These medicines will be reconsidered for listing when circumstances permit.”
Despite the pleas of patients and leading medical groups including the Consumers Health Forum to protect the PBS, Minister Roxon was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: “I think the [Consumers Health Forum] needs to also think about all the other patients in Australia who would welcome new health investments aside from new drug listings.”
In contrast to Labor, the Coalition Government has approved more than 2,900 new and amended listings on the PBS since we came into Government in 2013. This is at an overall investment of over $16.5 billion.
These include the recent listings of Trikafta for Australians with cystic fibrosis, who without PBS subsidy would have paid more than $250,000 per course of treatment and Zolgensma for Australians with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Type 1), a one-off treatment that would have cost $2.5 million.
Now, Australians will only pay a maximum of $42.50 per script, or as little as $6.80 with a concession card.
The Government will also make medicines even more affordable for 2.4 million Australians, by significantly lowering the threshold for the PBS Safety Net from 1 July 2022. The changes mean concessional patients will need to get 12 fewer scripts filled in a year in order to reach the PBS Safety Net, and two fewer scripts for general patients saving them over $80 per year.
The Morrison Government’s commitment to the PBS is rock solid, while Labor continue to prove they are unwilling to stand on their record and do not have the facts when it comes to our nation’s health.