Medicines Australia calls for bold response to innovation challenge

Medicines Australia has called on the Government to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent and set up an effective industry development program to secure the longterm viability of Australia’s $10 billion pharmaceuticals industry.

In a submission to the National Innovation System Review, Medicines Australia makes four recommendations to attract investment in innovation: development of an integrated, whole-of-government program to attract investment to Australia; encouragement of an internationally competitive tax regime; creation of a stronger IP regime; and action to address the skilled labour shortage.

The submission follows the establishment by the Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, last month of an industry development working group to prepare a strategic plan for the pharmaceuticals industry.

Medicines Australia’s NIS Review submission outlines a series of key initiatives to support its four recommendations, including:

  • Create an effective, integrated, whole-of-government program to attract investment in Australia
  • Reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent, phased in over three years
  • Ensure Australia’s data exclusivity arrangements are equivalent to or better than those in competitor countries
  • Create a National Fund for the Sciences which draws on public, private and
  • philanthropic funds to endow university professorships.

Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers said that the innovative pharmaceuticals industry in Australia is at a crossroads and faces an uncertain future without sustained investment.

“Australia must seize the opportunity to become a robust and self-sustaining global pharmaceuticals hub by attracting global R&D and manufacturing investment,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Without that investment, we face the prospect of manufacturing and R&D capability being divested to regional competitors such as India, China and South America.

“These emerging economies are already offering considerable advantages to companies investing in manufacturing or R&D.”

Mr Chalmers said he hoped the NIS Review would help Australia become more internationally competitive.

“Australia faces a fierce global competition. It’s sink or swim, because treading water won’t be good enough,” he said.

“Strong action by overseas governments to attract investment dramatically increases the difficulties companies in Australia face in persuading global head offices to commit new investment here.

“Australia exports $3.9 billion of locally manufactured and value-added pharmaceuticals a year – second only to the car industry. However, those levels can’t be sustained without a strong Government commitment to high-technology manufacturing.”

Medicines Australia’s submission to the NIS Review complements that of the Pharmaceuticals Industry Council, an alliance of the innovative, generic and biotech pharmaceuticals industries.

Medicines Australia member companies are engaged in the research, development, manufacture, supply and export of prescription medicines. Those companies account for more than 80 per cent of sales of prescription medicines in Australia.


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