Oncologist appointed to lead the PBAC


By Geir O'Rourke

26 Mar 2024

Medical oncologist Professor Robyn Ward has been named as the next chair of the powerful Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), amid a reshuffle in the federal government’s health funding advisory bodies.

Professor Ward is moving from the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), which provides recommendations on funding of Medicare and other programs, where she has been chair for 15 years. Her role at MSAC is being taken by paediatric nephrologist and clinical epidemiologist Professor Jonathan Craig.

Previous to taking on her role at the PBAC, Professor Ward has also been Clinical Associate Dean at the Prince of Wales Clinical School (UNSW), Head of the Adult Cancer Program at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

Federal health minister Mark Butler said the appointments followed an extensive recruitment process that had identified Professors Ward and Craig as leading experts in health technology assessment.

Professor Robyn Ward

“I welcome the appointment of Professor Ward as Chair of PBAC,” he said.

“She is eminently qualified to lead the PBAC and deliver the advice needed to ensure the PBS delivers equitable and timely access to effective and cost-effective medicines for Australians.”

Professor Craig was bringing a “wealth of clinical and research experience” to MSAC, he added.

“The advice of PBAC and MSAC is critical to ensuring Australians can access the medicines, medical services, health technologies and health programs they need.”

Professor Ward is appointed for four years from 5 May 2024 and takes over from Professor Andrew Wilson who is retiring as PBAC Chair after nine years in the role.

Made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013, she is currently the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney.

In other appointments, lung cancer clinician Professor Kwun Fong is appointed as the Co-Deputy Chair of MSAC.

Professor Kwun Fong is a thoracic and sleep physician at The Prince Charles Hospital, where he is the Clinical Manager of the Pulmonary Malignancy Unit. Professor Fong was inaugural Chair of the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group and serves as Chair of the Australian Lung Foundation’s Lung Cancer Consultative Group.

Professor Craig will take up the role of MSAC Chair from 1 April 2024 for a four-year term.

Professor Craig is Vice-President and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University. His research has focused on improving the health of people with chronic kidney disease, children, and the health and wellbeing of First Nations people.

Professor Jonathan Craig

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