Updated on 9 October 2012
Dr Robertson said that, "It took a year for our cystic fibrosis treatment, Bronchitol, to be approved as safe and effective after the Australian regulator completed a very thorough and detailed analysis. Once it was approved for sale, however, it then took more than 18 months for a decision to be made on government funding despite a very strong patient need. There has not been a new treatment for cystic fibrosis created in over 15 years and our product was discovered and developed in Australia. Clearly, the review of cost-effectiveness should not take longer than a review of safety and effectiveness."
"I completely understand the public and government's very valid concern about the cost of new medicines. We need to keep the cost contained. Ironically, though, the delay in getting medicines to the patient means the pharmaceutical company has a shorter time in which to recoup its investment in research and development. So what happens is, the extended debate about the cost effectiveness of a product actually significantly drives up the end cost," added Dr Robertson.
Dr Robertson believes the funding system needs to be revamped to better deal with a new generation of medicines. A session on "the road ahead" will be held following Dr Robertson's oration at the AusBiotech conference on Thursday, November 01, 2012.