The Abbott Government has backflipped once again with reports in PharmaDispatch that the government will move to re-establish the Pharmaceutical Industry Working Group (PIWG) just months after it was abolished.
Labor has been calling for the resurrection of PIWG since it was scrapped in December 2014. The pharmaceutical industry needs a forum like the PIWG so that industry and government can work in partnership to deliver better health outcomes for patients and more high-value pharmaceutical investment in Australia.
This is a critical issue now more than ever, given that the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics reports show a 30 per cent decline in Australian pharmaceutical exports over the last two years.
It’s also further evidence of the complete chaos in health policy which has seen the government forced into a series of last minute fixes just weeks before funding was due to run out for hundreds of vital health programs.
The PIWG provides free, quality, independent and expert advice to government. There was absolutely no sense in abolishing PIWG in the first place – unless of course the government doesn’t like what it hears.
This was clearly an ill-considered decision from the Ministers for Health and Industry and Labor welcomes the news that this short-sighted policy blunder has been reversed.