Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine submissions made to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and assess whether the predicted financial impact was associated with a recommendation. The second objective was to assess whether the financial and utilization estimates for listing the proposed medicine were reliable.
Methods: Data were extracted from public summary documents of major submissions considered by the PBAC from 2012 to 2014. Information collected included whether submissions were accepted, rejected, or deferred; estimated use; and financial impact. For those submissions that were recommended in 2012 and listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) by January 2014, a comparison was made between predicted and actual use and cost in 2014, based on PBS utilization.
Results: In 2012 to 2014, the PBAC considered 142 unique major submissions; of those, 65 were recommended for listing. A higher financial cost to the government was a statistically significant factor in predicting rejection (p = .004 for cost > AUD 30 million Australian dollars [20.7 million Euros] compared with cost-saving). Of the submissions that were recommended in 2012 and listed by 2014, the actual use was higher than predicted for 5/19 medications. The estimated cost was outside the predicted bracket of cost for 10/19 medications, with 8/19 medications having threefold underestimated expenditure, and 2/19 items having lower than predicted expenditure.
Conclusions: This study highlights that the predicted financial impact of a medication to the PBS budget is associated with a PBAC recommendation and also highlights that predicted use may not reflect actual prescribing practices.