AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, today warned that patients would bear the brunt of a Government proposal to recover Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) costs from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
"This plan would very likely push up the costs of vital drugs, leaving those who can least afford to pay for their medication facing a greater financial burden," Dr Haikerwal said.
"The PBS is very important - it ensures that Australians are able to access the medicines they need, regardless of their own personal financial circumstances.
"The AMA vigorously opposes any move to weaken that."
The AMA Federal Council yesterday passed an urgency motion stating there is no case for recovering the cost of PBS listing and pricing functions of the Department of Health and Ageing from the pharmaceutical industry.
"Widespread public benefits flow from the PBS listing and pricing decisions," Dr Haikerwal said.
"Cost recovery would be economically inefficient, and would ultimately weaken the independence and impartiality of the PBS - to the detriment of the Australian people.
"It is inevitable that drug companies will push up the prices of medicine to recover the additional costs.
"The AMA calls on the Federal Government to abandon its plans to introduce this measure."
PBS cost recovery from the pharmaceutical industry is due to be introduced in July next year.