Improvements to clinical trials will strengthen Australia’s economy and benefit patients  

8 December 2021: Clinical trials in Australia need improvements if we are to increase our global competitiveness says Medicines Australia in a new paper released today.  

Clinical trials provide benefits to patients, the healthcare system and the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how quickly innovative medicines, therapeutics and vaccines can evolve. Encouraging the global biopharmaceutical industry to invest in Australian clinical trials creates highly skilled jobs, a more competitive economy and places Australian patients at the front of the queue for innovative treatments. 

Medicines Australia delivered evidence today at the Inquiry into the Australian Manufacturing Industry. Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer, and Chair, Dr Anna Lavelle, highlighted current barriers and the opportunities R&D and clinical trials can provide in reinvigorating economic growth. 

“Where Australia has a competitive advantage, we need to leverage that advantage to grow the industry, the sector and create job opportunities,” Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia, told the Inquiry.  

In 2019, $1.4 billion were invested in clinical trials and at least 8000 Australian jobs were supported by the clinical trials sector. 

“Australia punches above our weight in scientific endeavours, in our research institutions and in our healthcare provisions. However, particularly for clinical trials, each state and territory have different regulatory and ethics approval systems. In Australia, that creates a delay and a barrier to setting up and recruiting patients to those clinical trials.” 

In a rapidly evolving international environment, Australia must do more if we are to remain globally competitive for clinical trials. This could be done by harmonising the different requirements across states and territories, which currently lead to unnecessary duplication and complexity. 

“Clinical trial reform has been discussed since 2006 without major improvements. Current government consultations such as the ‘One Stop Shop’ and ‘Clinical Trials Front Door’, must create change and boost Australia’s international competitiveness once and for all,” said Ms de Somer. 

Medicines Australia, as the lead member of the Research & Development Taskforce, has outlined four key principles to achieve a clinical research environment that is efficient, cost-effective and runs to world’s best practice now and in the long term.  

Medicines Australia will continue to engage with the consultation processes and actively advocate for reform. 


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About Medicines Australia

Medicines Australia leads the research-based medicines industry of Australia. Our members discover, develop and manufacture prescription pharmaceutical products, biotherapeutic products and vaccines that bring health, social and economic benefits to Australia. Our members invest in Australian medical research and take local discoveries and developments to the world.

Our mission is to drive policy outcomes in partnership with government, health sector organisations and the community which will ensure Australians have universal, affordable and fast access to treatments that keep pace with advancements in medicine.

About the R&D Taskforce   

Since 2006, the RDTF has been a unique forum for developing, evaluating and providing expert advice to Government on issues affecting clinical research in Australia. Convened by Medicines Australia, AusBiotech and the Medical Technology Association of Australia, the RDTF brings together senior executives from the peak bodies and companies representing the industry sectors, including the research-based and the biotechnology sector. In addition, these sectors are among the Australian health system’s most crucial components: they research, develop, manufacture and supply products that Australians use to lead healthier and more productive lives. 

The RDTF is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that our clinical research industry remains a strong contributor to this country’s economy and to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.