We are pleased to invite you to the third Joint Medicines Policy Conference, hosted by the Department of Health and Ageing and Medicines Australia.

The Joint Medicines Policy Conference illustrates the ongoing collaboration between the Australian Government and Medicines Australia to meet the challenges of providing Australians with ongoing access to safe and effective medicines at a cost individuals and the community as a whole can afford. Access should occur in a framework which promotes the Quality Use of Medicines and at the same time encourages a responsible and viable Australian medicines industry.

This year’s theme—Health Technology Assessment for Future Generations—focuses on the challenges facing the Australian Government, the medicines industry and consumers in ensuring a sustainable Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that meets the needs of all Australians.

The tools of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) have long been used by Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines. This conference invites debate on how HTA will need to evolve to meet the challenges posed by emerging technologies, many of which will be highly specialised, targeted to individuals rather than whole populations, and potentially high cost.

A unifying theme for the conference is ‘value’. One of the tasks of HTA is to help determine the value of a medicine to the Australian community. A number of sessions will explore challenges in determining such value both at the methodological and policy levels.

Other sessions will focus on ways of ensuring that the values and preferences of the Australian community are properly reflected.

Finally, this conference will provide an opportunity to debate how decisions made today about a medicine’s value may come to shape the drug development process itself and thus influence the health care options available to future generations.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2011 Third Joint Medicines Policy Conference.