Nation spends up big on health

Australia spent nearly $181 billion on health in 2016-17, according to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2016-17, shows that health spending grew more in 2016-17 than at any time in the past 5 years.

4.7% increase in spending

‘In 2016-17, health spending grew by 4.7%, compared to an average of 3.1% each year over the past 5 years. This was also the first time spending grew more than the decade average (4.6%) since 2011-12,’ AIHW spokesperson, Dr Adrian Webster, said.

That equated to more than $7,400 spent per person – over $200 more per person than in the previous year.

Governments were the drivers of this growth.

70% of spending funded by governments

“In 2016-17, almost 70% of total health spending was funded by governments, with the federal government contributing about 41%, and state and territory governments 27%,” Dr Webster said.

Total government spending on health grew by 6.8% in real terms in 2016-17, above the decade average of 4.5%.

Tax-revenue spend on health was 27.1%

Due to the relatively rapid growth in government spending, the proportion of tax revenue spent on health increased in 2016-17 following a period of relative stability (rising by 0.8 percentage points to 27.1%).

The rise in total government spending was related to an increase in spending for public hospital services ($1.3 billion in

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By | October 7th, 2018|Business|

$16m clinical trial for glaucoma-drug insertion that’s effective for 6 months

A Melbourne-based biotech, PolyActiva, has attracted $16 million in venture capital for a clinical trial of a unique eye implant that experts say can sharply improve treatment of the blindness-causing condition.

PolyActiva’s ‘polymer prodrug’ technology virtually eliminates human error by delivering the solution via a tiny ocular implant that is almost invisible alongside a 5¢ piece.

Implant biodegrades and disappears within 90 days

The implant can be inserted in the eye using a customised applicator in an ophthalmologist’s office. Once the treatment is completed the implant biodegrades and disappears within 90 days.

Reliably delivering drugs to the eye without the need for human intervention is a ‘holy grail’ for ophthalmologists.

Current treatment requires the patient to self-administer four drops of latanoprost ophthalmic solution – a topical medication known by the brand Xalatan – for six months, an exacting task that studies suggest defies 46 per cent of patients in some way.

Patients may forget to take the drops or do it poorly, which is bad because untreated glaucoma – a build up of pressure on the eye that the drops can relieve – often leads to blindness.

Seven patients in phase 1 clinical trial

Investors, led by Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and Yuuwa Capital, a Perth-based early stage commercialisation fund, have stumped up the $16 million to fund phase I clinical trials of the

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By | September 7th, 2018|Business|

NIB health fund’s share-price soars

The share price of private health insurance fund NIB soared by 9.2 per cent to $6.26 on 13 August after it lifted its earnings guidance thanks to a “benign” claims environment.

Also, growth in its membership, especially among international workers and students.

NIB is now expecting underlying operating profit of about $184 million for the 2018 financial year, above its previous forecast of $165 million.

The managing director of NIB, Mr Mark Fitzgibbon, said the company’s previous guidance was premised on Australian residents health insurance  business net margin towards the upper end of its 5 per cent to 6 per cent target range but it now expected it to be closer to 6.9 per  cent.

The company’s full-year results will be published next week.

By | August 27th, 2018|Business|

Australian company wins unprecedented approval for blindness-treatment drug

An Australian company has won unprecedented approval from the United-States Food and Drug Administration for a new drug to treat the second-most-common preventable cause of blindness in the world – river blindness.

The current treatment is 20 years old.

The company, Medicines Development for Global Health, based in Melbourne, has become the first not-for-profit company in the world to register a medicine with the US FDA.

Managing director of the company, Mr Mark Sullivan, said while FDA approval for the company’s drug, moxidectin, was a “momentous achievement” for any pharmaceutical company, it was “a particularly rare and exciting event” for those trying to treat neglected diseases.

The FDA gave its approval for the treatment, which is swallowed as a tablet, in June after the application was submitted in October 2017.

Mr Sullivan established the Melbourne-based not-for-profit company in 2005 with the sole purpose of filling the gap left by the big pharmaceutical companies by developing medicines that were based on need for treatment rather than the patients’ ability to afford them.

His company has been working for five years on the development of the drug and is now planning to develop it as a new treatment for scabies, a common problem in indigenous communities.

Priority review voucher scheme

The company has also won a priority review voucher under a scheme set up

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By | August 1st, 2018|Business|

EssilorLuxottica merger approved in China

Essilor and Luxottica announce that the antitrust regulator of the People’s Republic of China, SAMR, has approved the proposed combination between the two companies after they made certain commitments with regard to the conduct of their business in China.

Essilor and Luxottica committed to inform SAMR about their future acquisitions and also to ensure availability of their products and services to all customers in China on a fair basis.

These commitments are fully aligned with the future EssilorLuxottica’s mission to “help people see more, be more and live life to its fullest” and the open business model both companies promote across the globe.

Clearance from Chinese authority was the last condition precedent to the closing of the transaction and paves the way for the combination to be finalized. The two companies are also progressing with their discussions with the Turkish antitrust authority and expect the closing of the transaction at the end of the third quarter.

By | August 1st, 2018|Business|

Essilor and Luxottica extend deadline for merger-agreement signing

Essilor and Luxottica have announced extension of the deadline of both the Combination Agreement and Contribution Agreement signed between Essilor and Delfin, Luxottica’s majority shareholder, to 31 July.

The reason is the Chinese competition authority has not yet approved the contemplated merger between Essilor and Luxottica, a prior condition for finalization.

The parties remain confident that they will succeed in completing the anti-trust processes in China and Turkey in the coming weeks.

The first general meeting of EssilorLuxottica shareholders which was scheduled for 25 July will be reconvened by the EssilorLuxottica’s directors for a later date to be announced as soon as possible.

Financial analysts have estimated the value of the combined company to be between $US55 billion and $58 billion.

By | July 19th, 2018|Business|