Key investment in the medicines sector will bring jobs and breakthrough medicines to Australian patients – with the right investment settings.

Medicines Australia welcomes today’s announcement by the Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison in his National Press Club address that medical manufacturing has been identified as a Key Manufacturing Priority under the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

As an industry, the innovative medicines sector employs over 23,000 highly skilled workers and currently invests more than $9 billion into the local economy.

Medicines Australia CEO, Ms Elizabeth de Somer said: “This initiative by the Federal Government will provide opportunities for strengthening the ecosystem of research and development partnerships that are vital to domestic commercialisation, advanced manufacturing and stronger supply chains. If rolled out efficiently and effectively, this initiative opens the door for making us an even stronger industry to deliver not only jobs, but even more breakthrough medicines to Australian patients.

“As the Prime Minister outlined, this isn’t going to enable all medicines to be manufactured here in Australia, but it will enable us to identify and target niche areas like personalised therapeutics manufacturing which has immense growth potential in Australia and extending to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Ms de Somer.

“We also have a real opportunity in Australia to bridge the gap between research and translation of new medicines and we would welcome the opportunity to advise the Government on developing the medicines manufacturing industry in Australia.”

“We have some incredible research facilities in Australia, who are certainly punching above their weight in terms of discovery, but we need to ensure these innovations can be brought to market here too and not sent offshore first, and that means strengthening our entire R&D pipeline, from research, through to clinical trials and manufacturing,” said Ms de Somer.

“However,” said Ms de Somer, “this is contingent on getting other key investment support settings right like the Research and Development Tax Incentive (RDTI). Proposed reforms, currently the subject of a Senate committee inquiry, have the potential to significantly damage the sector, and ultimately impact its capacity to deliver new, innovative treatments to Australian patients. We look forward to hearing further announcements regarding this critical area in the upcoming Federal Budget.”

During his speech, the Prime Minister also outlined plans to improve our supply chain through investment in the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.

“While the innovative medicines supply chain is robust, as demonstrated by the challenge of COVID-19, it is imperative that we identify areas where Australia needs improved domestic manufacturing capability for emergencies, to ensure we are prepared for the future, whether that be for a pandemic, an environmental crisis like the bushfires or for something yet unforeseen,” said Ms de Somer.

“The innovative medicines industry looks forward to working with the Government to identify critical products, and map capabilities and vulnerabilities for normal times and periods of surge, continuing the close partnership on supply chains we have developed throughout COVID-19,” concluded Ms de Somer.

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More information – Natalie Wimmer – nwimmer@medaus.com.au – 0450 728 660