Cutting red tape key to attracting R&D investment

EMBARGOED: 12.30pm Wednesday 25 March 2009

Medicines Australia chairman Will Delaat today outlined a three-point plan to attract substantial international investment in clinical research for Australia.

Speaking at the fourth annual R&D Taskforce Forum in Sydney, Mr Delaat said Australia was well placed to win clinical research investment from regional competitors such as India and China.

Global pharmaceutical companies already invest $1 billion a year in R&D in Australia.

However, Mr Delaat said Australia urgently needs to reform the regulatory framework for clinical trials to protect and build on that investment.

Mr Delaat urged State and Federal governments to:

  • Expedite the establishment of a national streamlined system of ethics approval for multi-centre clinical trials
  • Establish coordinated national patient referral networks to facilitate recruitment of patients into clinical trials
  • Ensure that systems of electronic medical records in public hospitals are compatible with industry requirements.

“The global economic crisis presents Australia with a precious window of opportunity to attract substantial global investment in clinical research,” Mr Delaat said.

“Growth in countries such as India and China has slowed considerably, and those economies will be focussed on consolidating their gains and limiting their losses. In the meantime, Australia has an opportunity to recapture some of the advantage it has lost to those countries during the economic boom.

“If Australia is to be globally competitive as an R&D destination, we must harmonise the complex and cumbersome ethical review processes for multi-centre clinical trials.

“There are more than 250 different ethical review committees for clinical research in Australia. We need a nationally streamlined system for single ethics review for multicentre clinical trials so that companies considering R&D investment aren’t discouraged by the absurd amount of red tape.”

The two-day Pharmaceuticals Industry Council R&D Taskforce Forum, supported by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, concludes tomorrow (Thursday).


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