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New Australian health programmes provide health checks for children and teen dental care

March 28, 2016

These new health checks will cost the government $25 million and the dental program together with the Commonwealth dental program is expected to cost $780 million over three years.

Families who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A will be eligible for an annual $150 voucher for each child aged 12 to 17 years.

Items that also become available today include new Medicare items for children with autism and people at high risk of diabetes.

New medicines are now available on the Public Benefit Scheme (PBS) for people with multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer disease, psoriasis of the scalp, as well as those from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Also coming into effect are new items for pre-school and diabetes checks along with a new teen dental treatment scheme and the Healthy Kids Check will be available to all four-year-olds.

Patients aged 40-49 at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can now access a new Medicare item to allow doctors to review patients' risk factors and commence early intervention programs.

It now seems that the $4,250 allowance in the dental health item for patients with chronic and complex conditions is still available.

New PBS listings this month include natalizumab (Tysabri) for patients with from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and cinacalcet (Sensipar) for secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease.

Other news is that from today all international medical graduates will have to pass the AMC??ôs multiple choice exam to gain registration, with the exception of overseas trained doctors on the specialist track and graduates from medical schools in countries deemed to be eligible for the Competent Authority pathway such as the UK, U.S. and Canada.

The pharmaceutical industry is a "popular villain these days, thanks ... to the premise that drug companies are concerned more with profits than safety" and the "current mythology" that "most drug innovation comes from publicly funded research," Benjamin Zycher, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes in a Journal opinion piece.

Zycher cites the results of a study he conducted with two Tufts University researchers on the "development histories of 35 drugs and drug classes identified in the scholarly literature as important or that were among the most prescribed in 2007." According to Zycher, the study found that privately funded research was "responsible for central advances in basic sciences" in seven cases; in applied sciences for 34; and "in the development of drugs yielding improved clinical applications and/or manufacturing protocols for 28."

He writes, "All or almost all of the drugs and drug classes would not have been developed -- or their development would have been delayed significantly -- in the absence of the scientific or technical contributions of pharmaceutical firms," adding, "NIH and private sector research efforts are thus complementary." However, Zycher writes that "some current policy proposals ... would diminish private investment" and would "erode, perhaps sharply, the economic benefits of NIH research efforts as well." He concludes, "That is something that the critics of Big Pharma might want to consider" (Zycher, Wall Street Journal, 6/28).

This article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2008 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.