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Recent posts from the Parliamentary Library

The Parliamentary Library has recently published a number of posts on their blog, FlagPost, that might be of interest to Croakey readers. Short extracts and hyperlinks have been included below. Thanks to the Parliamentary Library for allowing cross-posting.

Competitive constraints in private health insurance raised – but broader debate needed by Amanda Biggs

Competition in the private health insurance market is the focus of a recent discussion paper released by the independent regulator, the Private Health Insurance Administrative Council (PHIAC). The paper is the first prepared by the new Premiums and Competition Unit (PACU) which was established in the last budget to help foster competition in the Australian private health insurance market. The paper aims to ‘promote discussion and stimulate comment on the nature of markets and competition’ in private health insurance, with a view to feedback informing a final report due for release in early 2013.

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Evidence linking sugary drinks and obesity grows by Amanda Biggs

Evidence has been growing that the consumption of sugary drinks among children is contributing to our increasing rates of overweight and obesity. Sugary drinks include ones artificially sweetened with sugar, such as soft drinks and energy drinks, but also seemingly healthy drinks, such as fruit juice. Sugary drinks are sometimes described as offering ‘empty kilojoules’ because they provide plenty of calories but lack many essential nutrients. Two recent studies into the effect sugary drink consumption has on children’s weight, add to a growing body of evidence linking them to weight gain. A recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported on both studies.

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Pricing of cancer drugs in Australia by Rebecca de Boer

This post explores the recent controversy associated with the weighted average price cut of 76.83% for docetaxel which took effect on 1 December. It notes that there are two separate issues: the pricing of pharmaceuticals on the PBS and remuneration of pharmacists for the dispensing of chemotherapy drugs.

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