Medicines Development

Research and Development (R&D)

Research and Development is the cornerstone of the medicines industry.  We are in a new era of medicine where breakthrough science is transforming care and our approach to treating patients. Robust investment in research and development (R&D) by biopharmaceutical companies is resulting in advances and discoveries unlike anything we have  seen before. The application of genomics to develop personalised medicines is enabling physicians to tailor treatments to the unique needs of the patient, and immunotherapies are harnessing patients’ own immune systems to fight off various conditions, including cancer and rare diseases.

Learn more about the complex journey of developing medicines and therapies for the future.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials play an important role in improving Australia’s healthcare system because they:
• Lead to the development of new and innovative treatments
• Allow patients early access to potential life-saving medicines at no cost
• Help retain specialised and highly-trained researchers in Australia
• Provide experience with novel and emerging therapies for Australian clinicians
• Links Australia to international scientific development and the latest thinking
• Create employment for research organisations, universities and hospitals

Click on the links below for consumer friendly resources explaining the role of clinical trials here in Australia.

Medicine Australia held a webinar on ‘How COVID19 has impacted clinical trials in Australia’ for patient groups.

  1. Clinical trials overview and importance of clinical trials in Australia (Elizabeth de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia)
  2. How has the pharmaceutical industry managing clinical trials during COVID-19. (Sarah Loomes, Clinical Trials Study Manager, Novartis)
  3. How has policy and technology changed due to COVID19 (Prof John Zalcberg, Chair Australian Clincial Trials Alliance)
  4. From a patient and carer’s perspective and what this means for patients moving forward (Richard Vines, Founder Rare Cancers Australia)
  5. Q&A session

Slides from the presentation ‘How COVID19 has impacted clinical trials in Australia’ for patient groups’ are available here (click to download)

Vaccine Development

Vaccines are investments that confer significant health benefits, as well as broader societal and economic benefits. In Australia, the world-leading National Immunisation Program (NIP) has provided Australians with access to vaccines and partnerships among governments, researchers, industry and the community—some of these diseases, like rubella and tetanus, are now extremely rare in Australia.

This section explores the process of how vaccines are developed and manufactured.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Under the PBS, the government subsidises the cost of medicine for most medical conditions. Most of the listed medicines are dispensed by pharmacists, and used by patients at home.  The PBS provides timely, reliable and affordable access to necessary medicines for Australians. The PBS is part of the Australian Government’s broader National Medicines Policy.  The aim of the National Medicines Policy is to meet medication and related service needs, so that both optimal health outcomes and economic objectives are achieved.