Lung Foundation Australia welcomes the announcement of the $2.8 billion Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme New Medicines Funding Guarantee in the 2020-2021 Federal Budget.
This will ensure continued and improved access to affordable and life-changing medicines for Australians impacted by lung disease and lung cancer. We were pleased to see lung cancer and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension medicines mentioned specifically in the budget papers and we will continue to ensure all Australians experiencing respiratory illness receive safe, timely, affordable access to the best medicines available.
While we welcome this investment, we are concerned that the Federal Government have not taken proactive steps to invest in developing the respiratory workforce of the future. In particular, we remain concerned that our specialist lung cancer nurses, a proven need in Australia, are not funded by the Federal Government. In Australia there are as few as 12 full-time equivalent specialist lung cancer nurses to support more than 12,800 people diagnosed with lung cancer each year, in comparison to over 400 breast cancer nurses and more than 50 prostate cancer nurses. We look forward to working with the Government to achieve equity for lung cancer patients.
This Budget mentions investment in research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the National Health and Medical Research Council and Cancer Australia. We await details of how this funding will flow through to respiratory research and will continue to seek a dedicated MRFF Respiratory Health Mission, on par with the MRFF Cardiovascular Health Mission.
We thank the dedicated and passionate consumer advocates, clinicians, corporate partners and other supporters who contribute to our submissions, pledges and petitions, and fiercely advocate to their local members for a fair fight.
We will continue to stand up for all Australians impacted by respiratory diseases and remain committed to achieving equitable, timely access to research, treatment, care and support for all Australians impacted by lung disease and lung cancer.