Policy Challenges of Nanomedicine for Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Australian Health Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 258-267, 2009

10 Pages Posted: 11 May 2009

Date Written: May 5, 2009

Abstract

All major pharmaceutical companies are currently investing significantly in the development of medicines with a nanotechnology component. Such research promises therapeutic drugs with greater efficacy and a wider range of clinical indications. Nanomedicines are just beginning to enter drug regulatory processes, but within a few decades could comprise a dominant group within the class of innovative pharmaceuticals. The current thinking of government safety and cost-effectiveness regulators appears to be that these products give rise to few if any nano-specific issues. This article challenges that proposition and seeks to explore what features of nanomedicines may create unique or heightened policy challenges for government systems of cost-effectiveness regulation. The Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a key exemplar of the latter type of regulation in that it links expert scientific evaluation of cost-effectiveness with the pricing of PBS-listed drugs. In the current global financial crisis such systems are likely to become increasingly attractive and how they handle the demands made upon them by nanomedicines (including by application of a variation of the precautionary principle) is likely to be of considerable interest to policy makers worldwide.

Keywords: Nanomedicine, Nanotechnology, Cost-effectiveness, Pharmaceuticals, Health Technology, Regulation

Suggested Citation

Faunce, Thomas Alured, Policy Challenges of Nanomedicine for Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) (May 5, 2009). Australian Health Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 258-267, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1402458

Thomas Alured Faunce (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
61 2 61253563 (Phone)

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