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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a little insight « Previous | |Next »
July 21, 2005

Whilst on holidays and watching DVD's I've been dipping into the news here and there-- a quick grab on Radio National Breakfastin the morning; a fast look at the 7.30 Report in the evening; and a glance at the AFR and a scan of some online newspapers during the day.

It is hard to miss all the publicity about John Howard as the global statesman that puts Kim Beazley in the shade.

However, I did notice the way the Minister of Health, Tony Abbott, has lost his reforming zeal.

Indications are is that he is buckling under the pressure from the the big drug companies in relation to the government's generic drugs policy. It's been four concessions/exemptions from the Government's decision to pay 12.5% less for all medicines in a therapeutic group when the first generic drug entered that group.

The Treasurer's response was spot on:

"...we don’t want to pay any more than we have to. So if there is a generic pill then we ought to encourage the use of the generic rather than a brand. The PBS is not run for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies. It is run for the benefit of the patients. We have now got a co-payment in there but we have got to be rigorous about testing the new medicines, bringing to market generic brand alternatives, making sure that we don’t have unnecessary medications on that scheme."

That gives a little indication of the way health has become dependent on drugs rather than primary health care.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:38 PM | | Comments (2)


There was a recent WSJ article about the Medicare bill in the US being the largest unfunded expanse of the welfare state in US history. I have seen figures being bandied about of 8 trillion dollars in the bill that is unfunded. Andrew Sullivan made the point that the unfunded component is about the same as China's GDP.

It may become in the US's interests to force the globe to have an inflation spurt so they can pay off their global debts quickly.

I suspect Costello is rolling his eyes at the fiscal incompetence of the Bush Administration and US Congress. Probably giving him a continued determination for it not to happen in Australia.

Costello is rolling his eyes at the booming costs of health associated with the economic implications of an ageing Australia.

The booming health costs identified are public hospitals and PBS. Attempts need to be made now to start bringing costs down to prevent the future budget blowout, is what Costello is arguing.

Abbott is not helping by wilting under pressure from the big Pharma. He will be disciplined in the near future by Treasury.