Conference 2018 - 'What future, the PBS?'

The agenda for the inaugural PharmaDispatch conference has been finalised in advance of the one-day event on 14 May.

The conference is being held at the Establishment hotel in Sydney (level 3) with the theme - What future, the PBS? 

The event venue opens at 8am and closes with a reception ending at 7pm.

Conference agenda


The National Medicines Policy? Is it still relevant?


The first panel of the day features a discussion on the future of the PBS with PBAC chair Professor Andrew Wilson; Hepatitis Australia president and former senior Department of Health official, Felicity McNeill PSMMichala Fischer-Hansen, managing director of Novo Nordisk and Medicines Australia board member; and, PBAC deputy chair and consumer representative, as well as deputy chair of the Consumers Health Forum, Jo Watson.

The panel will discuss the future of the PBS in the context of National Medicines Policy. Speaking last year, Professor Wilson questioned what he called the current 'piecemeal' approach to policy, and called for a strategic review of the almost 30-year old National Medicines Policy.


Reconciling the PBS and Department of Finance. Is it even possible?


Jane Halton AO PSM, who is in the unique position of having led the Department of Health and Department of Finance, will speak about her experience of the PBS from 'both sides of the fence'. How can the PBS happily co-exist with the Department of Finance? Is it even possible?


Break - 10.10am-10.30am


What does PBS sustainability mean in 2018?


A panel of the sector's most senior leaders, along with Department of Health acting deputy secretary Penny Shakespearewho heads the Health Financing Group that incorporates PBS policy along with Medicare and private health insurance, will discuss the strategic challenges confronting the sector, including sustainable funding for the PBS, and how best to work together.

The sector leaders will be chair of Medicines Australia and Boehringer Ingelheim managing director, Wes Cook; Pharmacy Guild national president, George Tambassis; CEO of Sigma Healthcare and chair of the National Pharmaceutical Services Association, Mark Hooper; and, Sylvain Vigneault, chair of the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) and managing director of Mylan.


What should certainty and predictability mean? 


Three company managing directors, Takeda’s James Jones, AstraZeneca’s Liz Chatwin and Pfizer's Melissa McGregor, along with policy and advocacy head at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Belinda Wood, will discuss certainty and predictability - two words that dominate agreements between the sector and government - but what do they really mean? Is there even a shared understanding?


Lunch - 12.15pm-1.15pm


Budget 2018-19 - the reaction


Featuring interim CEO of Medicines Australia, Liz de SomerFelicity McNeill PSMRichard Vines of Rare Cancers Australia; and Matt Little, the head of strategic initiatives at AbbVie, the panel will discuss this year's Budget, delivered the week before the conference, and its implications.


PBAC from the other side


Industry nominated PBAC member, Michelle Burke, who is also on the board of AusBiotech, will provide her perspective as a member of the committee. Ms Burke will be joined on a panel by David Herd, director of market access and external affairs at GSK.


Break - 3.10pm-3.30pm


What preparations are underway in advance of next year's federal election?


What is the future of government and stakeholder relations? How has it changed? How will it change and what are the implications for the pharmaceutical sector and patients? Are preparations underway in advance of next year's federal election?

The panel features Kieran Schneemann, director government affairs at AstraZeneca; Nicola Richards, executive director of market access and policy at MSD; Todd Stephenson, director, corporate and government affairs at Janssen; and, Jody Fassina, managing director, Insight Strategy.


Commercial decision-making in an environment of constant change


This panel features some of the sector's most senior and influential commercial decision-makers. They will discuss how commercial decision-making has changed in recent years, the influence of PBS policy, and what the future might hold. Speakers include the head of general medicine at Bayer, Leon Moore; Lisa Perry, director of AstraZeneca's oncology business unit; and, one of Australia's foremost experts on pharmacy, Bruce Annabel.


Drinks and canapes - 5.15pm-7.00pm

Catering will be provided throughout the day and registrants are asked to advise on any dietary requirements.

Registrations are limited with a number of heavily discounted spots set aside for patient representative groups. Full individual registration for the conference is $880 (GST incl.). Patient representative groups or anyone with questions should contact us ( for further information.


Registration Closed