VIVA! principal Kirsten Bruce contributed the following article to Health Radar, a quarterly publication on current trends in the health communication industry. Health Radar is published by our GLOBALHealthPR partners from Germany fischerAppelt.

In Australia, the price of pharmaceutical products is determined by negotiations between the Federal Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority (PBPA) and the pharmaceutical supplier.

Pharmaceutical companies usually apply for their commercially-aproved products to be listed on the Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), providing consumers with affordable (Government-subsidised) medications.

Failure to secure a PBS-listing, as in the case earlier this year when seven new medications were deferred by the Aus- tralian Government, generally has an adverse effect on professional health com- municators. Nonetheless, communicators continue to play a pivotal role in main- taining the profile and raising awareness of health conditions and their management. Armed with a comprehensive under- standing of the Code, professional health communicators are uniquely positioned to inform and educate target audiences (generally healthcare professionals and consumers) via strategic PR campaigns designed to breathe life into existing and clinically proven medications.

Furthermore, patient advocacy pro-grams coordinated under the umbrella of consumer health organisations, are in high-demand under a pricing system that primarily involves the pharmaceutical supplier and the Federal Government. Health communicators can offer patients a public platform to voice their concerns regarding health conditions and the importance of, or need for medications designed to deliver the highest levels of health to the individual and to society.