Industry groups asked to nominate again

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The Department of Health has written to industry groups asking them to have another go at nominating a member for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

The possible appointment of an industry-nominated PBAC member was included in several changes to the committee announced as part of last year's PBS Access and Sustainability Package. The health minister can choose not to appoint an industry-nominated member.

The other changes included appointing a deputy chair and creating a PBAC executive for "triaging and considering certain applications."

AusBiotech, Medicines Australia and the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association provided nominations for the position in October last year. The nominations stood for 12 months. They have not proceeded to an appointment and have now effectively lapsed.

It is understood the all-male nominations from the three industry organisations included one former managing director of an Australian-based pharmaceutical company. Other nominees included candidates with a high level of technical expertise related to Australian market access, including one with extensive experience of the PBAC and its processes.

Under government policy the committee is required to maintain gender balance.

Current policy provides for a gender diversity target of 40 per cent men on government boards, 40 per cent women, and 20 per cent to be made up of either gender.

PBAC currently has 18 members and a 50-50 gender split. However, the terms of nine current Committee members expire in 2017 - six are women.

Consistent with government policy, consideration of their reappointment or replacement will need to consider the committee's ongoing gender balance.

Another consideration is geographical representation, with government seeking members beyond those located in Sydney and Melbourne.