Dialog Box

Leading Change Update

Ovarian Cancer Australia CEO Jane Hill

This week Ovarian Cancer Australia was invited to have input into two important health policy initiatives - the Ministerial Roundtable for the Australian Cancer Plan and the House of Representatives Inquiry into the Approval Processes for New Drugs and Novel Medical Devices in Australia.

Cancer Australia’s Australian Cancer Plan Ministerial Roundtable

In 2020, with an estimated 145,483 diagnosed with cancer in Australia, the roundtable sparked the discussions of what organisations can do to work together over the next 10 years to improve outcomes for Australian’s affected by cancer.

OCA CEO Jane Hill said it was critical for Ovarian Cancer Australia to be at the table to ensure that ovarian cancer is not neglected and that over the coming years inroads are made into improving survival rates, decreasing the incidence, and improving the quality of life of those living with ovarian cancer.

“It’s important that we work with other organisations around the country to improve cancer outcomes for everyone diagnosed with cancer,” she said.

The Ministerial Roundtable was part of the first step in the development of a visionary ten-year Australian Cancer Plan, led by Cancer Australia. The plan will cover prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, while providing for the unique needs of specific cancer types and populations.

House of Representatives inquiry into the Approval Processes for New Drugs and Novel Medical Devices in Australia

In October 2020, OCA was given the opportunity to make a submission to the inquiry into approval processes for new medicines and novel medical technologies in Australia.

We asked women living with ovarian cancer for their input and experience and listened to many different voices and experiences in the lead up to the inquiry.

OCA CEO Jane Hill appeared at the inquiry as a witness, and spoke of the critical role that consumers and their representatives can and should play in health reform to achieve better health outcomes, by connecting the user of the health system and those who shape it.

“Consumers see the health technology (HTA) process from a unique angle and their wealth of knowledge and real-life experiences should be incorporated in the process to ensure outcomes benefit those in need and address the concerns of those directly affected.

“It is vital that the patient voice is part of the Parliamentary inquiry and health reform generally,” she said.

Ovarian Cancer Australia listened to over 100 women affected by the disease and raised the below issues during the inquiry. These issues included:

  • Ensuring important cancer drugs are available in Australia in a similar timeframe to other countries, meaning some patients would have access to a cancer medicine sooner, which could have a bearing on their length and quality of life.
  • Reducing the time taken to register and list drugs for the 5,000 women living with ovarian cancer in Australia. The long and complex process for drug listings means that there can be delays in getting access to new medicines .
  • Not enough drugs and novel therapies. Ovarian cancer is not one disease, but a group of related diseases with unique genetic characteristics. This is creating the potential for developing more effective, personalised treatment options for women living with ovarian cancer.
  • Making Australia a more attractive location for clinical trials for new drugs and novel medical technologies. Whilst clinical trials may stimulate research and development investment and provide early access to novel technologies, women with ovarian cancer still experience limited access to clinical trials. Australia should continue to position itself as an attractive location for multinational pharmaceutical companies to undertake clinical trials.

Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA) works to lead change and ensure those affected by the disease are heard and represented nationally, as well as to create better outcomes for the disease and access to treatments. Our Ovarian Cancer Support Nurses  are here to provide advice and support on 1300 660 334 (9am – 5pm AEST) or  support@ovariancancer.net.au

29 April 2021
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