Medicines industry a key player in post-mining boom economy, National Press Club told

The medicines industry will offer Australia significant strategic and economic advantages in a post-mining boom future, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw told the National Press Club today.

Dr Shaw said that with the right policy settings to encourage innovation, research and manufacturing the medicines industry could capitalise on its advantages.

“At a time when Australia is debating the future of manufacturing in this country, we have, right under our noses, an industry that already delivers so much to the community and economy through jobs, skills, wages, exports and R&D,” Dr Shaw said.

“It is an industry that has an excellent industrial relations record and generates good exports, foreign investment, high-skill, high wage-jobs and some of the best scientific minds in the world.

“It is an industry that has a low carbon footprint for the economic growth it generates.

“It is a perfect industry for a country that is trying to develop a smart, high-wage, high-skill, innovative, low carbon economy.

“If we are serious about building on the industrial capability we already have in this country, we should be backing Australia’s medicines industry and encouraging it to reach its potential.

“We have the people, the skills, the ideas, the research, the infrastructure, the companies, the history and the critical mass to take the next steps and make Australia a key niche player in the global medicines industry.”

However, Dr Shaw warned that the medicines industry in Australia was under challenge, and needed supportive policy settings.

“After much growth through the 1990s and first half of the 2000s, exports have stalled at $4 billion a year and R&D has plateaued at $1 billion a year,” Dr Shaw said.

“Incredibly, while the rest of the world is seeing growth in the number of clinical trials being performed to test new medicines, the number of new trials in Australia has fallen for the last three years by an average of 13 per cent a year. That’s not sustainable.

“We can develop this industry even further into one of the key Australian high-tech industries to help set up a post mining-boom future. But we need the right policies.”

The full text of Dr Shaw’s address to the National Press Club is available here


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