In order for a doctor to be paid for performing a procedure or test in Australia, the procedure or test must be included on the Australian Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS)  For new technologies and devices that involve a new procedure an application must be made to the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC)

An MSAC application is a significant undertaking that requires development of a decision analytic protocol, a comprehensive review and evaluation of the clinical evidence, a thorough economic analysis based on the best available clinical evidence and a complete budget impact analysis.  All of this is scrutinised rigorously by the MSAC and its sub-committees, the Protocol Advisory Sub-committee and the Economic Sub-committee. The process can be gruelling and it may take a number of years before the MSAC makes a recommendation to the Australian government.

The MSAC, while an independent committee, is supported by a Secretariat of the Australian Department of Health.  The MSAC and its subcommittees meet only three times a year and documents generally need to be submitted two to three months before a meeting.  The combination of these extended timeframes and a bureaucracy that may sometimes be overzealous in adhering to the detail of complicated departmental processes can result in a frustrated applicant.

It is important when considering an MSAC application that an applicant is mindful not only of the scientific and technical aspects of the submission, but is sufficiently resourced to manage the complicated bureaucratic processes involved and has access to local experts familiar with the Australian Department of Health.

For a more detailed description of the MSAC process and requirements, please see this article by Sarah Griffin published earlier this year in Clinica.

Please contact if you would like more information on MSAC applications