Health innovation needs long term focus

Ensuring Australians have access to new medicines in the future and growing the Australian medicines industry are going to require more long term thinking and collaboration, Medicines Australia has told a business forum today.

Speaking at the CEDA 2013 Health Forum today, Medicines Australia Chief Executive Dr Brendan Shaw warned that a short term focus in health could jeopardise future generations’ access to new medicines and vaccines.

“One of the issues we face in the future is the collision between the range of new medical technologies, the ageing population and our unwillingness or inability to pay for this,” Dr Shaw said.

“Watching the collision between the range of new therapies in the pipeline, the ageing population and government austerity is like watching a 40 year train wreck happen in slow motion.

“And we are not talking about it sensibly.

“I am really concerned that in the austerity drive we’re seeing around the world governments will forsake long term incentives for developing new medicines in favour of short term cost cutting.

“If governments cut back too hard on spending on new medicines, or put too many restrictions on their use, they send a signal to the medicines industry not to invest in developing new therapies.

Dr Shaw also highlighted the opportunity Australia had to capitalise on its current strengths to grow the medicines industry and generate growth after the mining boom.

“We have an Australian medicines industry that is already one of Australia’s leading manufacturing industries with some great examples of Australian-owned and international companies building commercial success here.

“But we can do so much more here and reports like the McKeon review of health and medical research provide a roadmap for what we need to do.”

Dr Shaw’s comments to the CEDA forum can be found here


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