MSAC Terms of Reference

Page last updated: 03 November 2020


The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) is an independent non-statutory committee established in 1998. It is comprised of individuals with expertise in clinical medicine, health economics and consumer matters.

MSAC appraises medical services, health technologies and health programs for public funding through an assessment of their comparative safety, clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and total cost, using the best available evidence. This includes, but is not limited to amendments and reviews of existing services funded on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or other non-MBS funded programs (for example, blood products, screening programs or prostheses referred by the Prostheses List Advisory Committee).

Roles and function

MSAC will:
  • Advise the Minister for Health on whether a medical service, health technology or health program should be publicly funded, and what circumstances, if any, should apply to such funding based on an assessment of the comparative safety, clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and total cost using the best available evidence;
  • Have due regard to the advice of states and territories where it is relevant to comparative safety, clinical effectiveness and/or cost effectiveness and total cost of a high cost therapy that is expected to be delivered in a public hospital setting as set out in Appendix B-(B1) of the National Health Reform Agreement – Addendum 2020-2025;
  • Publish its advice and/or assessments to improve awareness around access to medical services, health technologies and health programs that Australians need, at a cost individuals and the community can afford;
  • Collaborate, where appropriate, with international health technology agencies to share information and technical expertise to ensure the MSAC has access to, and is using the best available information and methodology in undertaking its assessments; and
  • Provide advice to the Minister for Health and/or Department of Health (the Department) on the evaluation of a medical service, health technology or health program for public funding that has been referred by other relevant bodies or committees.
The MSAC may also establish sub-committees to assist the MSAC to effectively undertake its roles and functions. The MSAC may delegate some of its functions to the MSAC Executive.


The MSAC’s size and composition is to be determined by the Minister for Health. The MSAC’s composition is drawn from a wide range of experts constituted from time-to-time to address the likely type of applications for the Committee’s consideration.

Membership appointments are generally for four year terms. Appointments may be staggered to allow for continuity of the MSAC. Members may serve on the MSAC, and/or any of its sub-committees or ad-hoc working groups. MSAC may also co-opt non-members with specific skills and knowledge in an expert capacity to its subcommittees or working groups.

Members and non-members co-opted onto a committee or working group must sign Deeds of Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Declarations upon appointment, and are required to declare potential, perceived or actual conflicts annually and for each meeting/issue being addressed. The Chair, in collaboration with the Department, will determine if and how a perceived, actual or potential conflict of interest will be managed.


To enable an MSAC meeting to proceed; half the number of members (including the Chair) plus one is required. Members may abstain from voting. In the event of a tied vote, the Chair has the casting vote.

Meeting schedule

MSAC meets three times per year. Sub-committees and working groups may meet more frequently. Business may also be conducted out of session, usually via email or teleconference/videoconference, with face-to-face meetings held where/when required.


MSAC’s advice is generally published on the MSAC website. The full health technology assessment may also be published on the MSAC website.

Members are required to endorse the advice prior to publication on the MSAC website.

Members are also required to participate in sub-committees and/or other ad-hoc working groups as determined by the MSAC Executive from time to time.


The MSAC reports to the Minister for Health.