Chapter 1

Chapter 1


Terms of Reference

1.1        On 7 February 2013 the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs Committee for inquiry and report:

(a) the supply of chemotherapy drugs such as Docetaxel, particularly in relation to:

(i) patient access to treatment,

(ii) cost to pharmacists and suppliers, and

(iii) cost to the private and public hospital systems;

(b) any long-term sustainable funding models for the supply of chemotherapy drugs, including Docetaxel; and

(c) any related matters.[1]

1.2        The reporting date for the inquiry was set by the Senate for 22 April 2013. The committee presented an interim report on that date, indicating that it intended to present its final report by 10 May 2013.

Conduct of the Inquiry

1.3        The committee invited submissions from the Commonwealth Government and interested organisations. The committee received public submissions from 35 organisations and individuals (listed at Appendix 1).

1.4        The committee held one public hearing during the course of the inquiry, in Sydney on 28 March 2013.  A list of witnesses who appeared before the committee is set out in Appendix 2.

1.5        Submissions, additional information, the Hansard transcript of evidence and responses to questions on notice can be accessed through the committee's website at: References in this report are to individual submissions as received by the committee, not to a bound volume.

1.6        The committee sincerely thanks all submitters and witnesses for their contribution and participation in the inquiry process.

Structure of the report

1.7        This report is comprised of 3 Chapters. Chapter 2 provides the background to the inquiry, and an overview of arguments and evidence raised in submissions concerning the supply of cancer drugs such as Docetaxel. Chapter 3 discusses the concerns of witnesses, and the negotiations for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement and implications for the appropriate source of additional funding for the supply of chemotherapy drugs.  

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