AusBiotech Board member Michelle Burke is the industry nominated member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
The appointment of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb senior market access executive was announced today.
Health minister Greg Hunt's appointment of Ms Burke comes two years after former minister Sussan Ley announced a number of changes to the PBS that included the potential appointment of an industry nominated member.
Under the National Health Act 1953, the minister can accept nominations from industry groups - Medicines Australia, AusBiotech and the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association - but decline to make an appointment.
It took the nominating bodies three attempts before government accepted their nomination. The initial attempt included only male nominees, creating an issue with the policy requirement for PBAC to maintain gender balance, but Ms Burke's nomination has received widespread support across industry and government given her experience and record.
She recently left Bristol-Myers Squibb after many years leading the company's market access and external affairs area.
“AusBiotech fully supports the appointment of Ms Burke, as an appointment of the highest integrity and standing, as well as significant experience in the regulation and reimbursement of medicines in Australia,” said Chair of AusBiotech, Ms Julie Phillips.
Michelle Burke joins PBAC arguably as the most suitably qualified appointment imaginable. She is a long-serving market access executive but, potentially of equal importance, has played a pivotal role in PBS policy discussions for over a decade.
Her job is not to represent industry on PBAC - it is to act as a PBAC member in accordance with the legislated requirements - but she will bring a valuable new perspective and unique experience to the committee.
Given Ms Burke's experience and record on policy matters, going all the way back to the late 1990s, it is difficult to imagine a better appointment.
She has represented industry in seminal policy discussions on marquee issues, including the Pharmaceutical Industry Action Agenda, the post-PBAC review, which secured many of the processes now taken for granted, and has even spent time with ministerial advisers patiently explaining the vagaries of arcane PBS pricing policy (think, Weighted Average Monthly Treatment Cost).
Ms Burke has also made major contributions to several rounds of PBS pricing reforms.