MTAA Champions Patient Access and Improvements for Australian MedTech

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The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport to discuss opportunities to reform Australia’s regulatory and approvals processes to best compete on the global stage.

Chaired by the Member for North Sydney, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, the hearings are taking place in Sydney this week as part of the Committee’s inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies in Australia.

Asked about the local MedTech industry’s challenges, MTAA’s CEO, Ian Burgess, said there were a large portion of novel medical devices that will continue to come through global supply chains, however there was significant space in the market for Australia to further invest in a strong, competitive local industry to deliver MedTech’s health benefits for all Australians.

“Our TGA is world-class, but despite some progress with novel technology priority reviews and considerations of other regulatory approvals, it requires further resourcing and more flexible approaches to efficiently assess new innovative technologies using post-market real world evidence for timely access,” Mr Burgess said.

The Committee was told that while various funding and decision-making systems have generally done a good job at delivering patient access to medical devices, there still exists the opportunity to improve funding and decision-making processes to reduce gaps and better recognise the unique nature of medical devices.

Asked about the risks of changes to the Prostheses List, including the Department of Health’s current consideration for abolishing the PL, Mr Burgess said all major stakeholders were in alignment that this would be detrimental to patient access and surgeon choice of medical devices in Australia.

“The doctors, hospitals, patient groups and MedTech innovators have all publicly stated their strong opposition to abolishing the Prostheses List. “Abolishing and then replacing the Prostheses List with an average payment system would see corporate health insurers dictating the price of patient care, leaving patients and hospitals to pick up any extra costs.”

The Committee is expected to continue its hearings on Friday, 12 March 2021, where a number of MedTech companies will be appearing.