At Australia’s PharmAus19 conference held at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday (October 15) new research was released, indicating that Australian’s were living longer, healthier lives thanks to the introduction of new medicines.

The research, Measuring the Impact of Pharmaceutical Innovation in Australia 1998–2018, was conducted by Professor Frank Lichtenberg from Columbia University Business School and was commissioned by Medicines Australia and a group of leading pharmaceutical companies including MSD Australia, Roche Australia, Janssen Australia and Sanofi Australia and New Zealand.

The study reveals premature mortality (pre-age 90) fell 22.6% between 1998 and 2015, with a staggering 94% of this fall attributed to pharmaceutical innovation.

Not only are Australians living longer, but their overall quality of life is also improving. Professor Lichtenberg told BioPharma Dispatch, “I have been studying biomedical innovation from the perspective of economics for some time, and I believe that as a result of biomedical innovation 70 is the new 60, 80 is the new 70”. 

Another key highlight from the report is the reduction in the number of hospital days as a result of the country’s pharmaceutical innovation. Professor Lichtenberg estimates the new drugs launched in Australia between 1986 and 2000 reduced the number of hospital days in 2015 by 7.3%, which reduced hospital costs by up to $3.47 billion.

Medicines Australia Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth de Somer, told The Sydney Morning Herald the research “reinforces our argument that medicines deliver far greater value than just the health outcome that is being purchased by the government through the PBS” by keeping people “out of hospital, in the work force, contributing and participating in society”.

In his research, Professor Lichtenberg also explores the effect of pharmaceutical innovation on cancer survival rates. He found that approximately 44% of the increase in the five-year survival rate for cancer patients from 2001 – 2005 to 2011 – 2015 was due to the launch of new cancer drugs. Not only are these cancer drugs increasing survival rates, but they are also increasing the mean age of death from cancer.

VIVA! Communications were proud to partner with the Prime Minister, The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, and Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP last month (September 30) for the PBS listing of a new non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) immunotherapy combination treatment.

Here at VIVA! we know that new listings on the PBS help close the treatment access gap and improve the quality of life for Australians living with disease.

For further information and to read the full report click here.