Paving the way for medicines and health technologies through expert reporting and content transformation

Biotext provides expert consultancy services for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

It is critical that the information supporting the delivery of medicines and health technologies to Australians is as clear and accurate as possible. Along with our work supporting the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, Biotext has a long-term partnership with the PBAC, MSAC and PSA to provide expert content services.

Our work includes:

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

The PBAC recommends medicines for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which aims to make health care more affordable for Australians by subsidising medicines that are shown to be effective.

The Guidelines for preparing submissions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee explain how to prepare a submission to list a new medicine or medicinal product on the PBS. They provide detailed instructions on what information is required to support a proposed new medicine, and the most appropriate form of clinical evidence and economic evaluation for submissions. The guidelines are therefore an essential resource for pharmaceutical companies and the Australian healthcare system, and need to be as clear and easy to navigate as possible.

Since 2006, we have worked with the PBAC to update and improve their guidelines over several iterations, making it easier for industry to navigate the application process. In 2013, Biotext worked closely with the PBAC to transform the guidelines from a dense collection of chapters, forms and appendixes to a revised structure that uses a clear flow of information requests, backed up with flowcharts and other navigational aids for users.

Most recently, we partnered with the Department of Health and their user research specialists to develop and deliver a post-market review of the Opioid Dependence Treatment Program in a very short timeframe. We listened to nearly 30 hours of recordings of one-on-one interviews and focus groups with clients of pharmacotherapy treatment programs. We wrote a 40-page report summarising their views about the program, including what works, what does not work and how the program can be improved. This report went to PBAC as part of the Opioid Dependence Treatment Program’s post-market review, to help the committee make decisions about the program’s future. In the May 2023 federal Budget, it was announced that the Opioid Dependence Treatment Program medicines will now be available under the PBS.

Medical Services Advisory Committee

The Australian healthcare system aims for all Australians to have affordable and fair access to health care. MSAC advises the government on whether health technologies are safe, effective and cost-effective for public funding.

Biotext has provided expert scribing services for MSAC meetings since 2018. Three Biotext writers attend each committee and subcommittee meeting (3 each per year). We take detailed notes about the presentations and discussion at the meeting. We then prepare the draft outcomes based on the very detailed and highly technical discussions. For the MSAC draft outcomes, we also prepare a short consumer summary. We also developed the Guidelines for preparing assessments for the Medical Services Advisory Committee. The MSAC guidelines steer applicants through the complex and highly technical process of applying for public funding. Biotext developed diagrams to help users navigate the guidelines and edited the text to ensure clarity and consistency. We also developed a summary for stakeholders to explain the MSAC process and new guidelines to non-experts.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The Australian pharmaceutical formulary and handbook (APF) is an essential resource for pharmacists and health professionals. It contains practical, current and evidence-based information and guidance on a wide range of topics, including dispensing, counselling, compounding and therapeutic management. It provides valuable information for students, interns and pharmacists working in all practice settings, including community, hospital and consultant pharmacy roles. Biotext has been trusted editors for the APF since 2014, editing the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th editions. We have copyedited and proofread this 360,000-word publication to the highest quality standards, informed by our team’s expertise in health and biomedical science. We have also validated the content on the APF website.

Our role:

  • Client partnerships to ensure business, stakeholder and user needs are met
  • Content analysis to identify content needs and gaps
  • Content design for robust frameworks to support updates
  • Information architecture to support user understanding
  • Scribing for highly technical meetings and workshops
  • Content development to distil meeting and interview messages and outcomes
  • Information design to improve user understanding
  • Diagrams to improve navigation
  • Editing and proofreading for highly technical content
  • Validation of content on webpages