Generic drugs: international trends and policy developments in Australia

Hans Lofgren
Australian Health Review: a Publication of the Australian Hospital Association 2004, 27 (1): 39-48
Public and private third-party payers in many countries encourage or mandate the use of generic drugs. This article examines the development of generics policy in Australia, against the background of a description of international trends in this area, and related experiences of reference pricing programs. The Australian generics market remains underdeveloped due to a historical legacy of small Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme price differentials between originator brands and generics. It is argued that policy measures open to the Australian government can be conceived as clustering around two different approaches: incremental changes within the existing regulatory framework, or a shift towards a high volume/low price role of generics which would speed up the delivery of substantial cost savings, and could provide enhanced scope for the financing of new, patented drugs.

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