Medicines industry R&D breaks through $1 billion

The Australian medicines industry’s R&D investment has exceeded $1 billion for the first time, according to the annual Australian Bureau of Statistics business expenditure on R&D figures released today.

The ABS report shows that the medicines industry attracted $1.023 billion in R&D investment in 2008-09, up $94 million or 10 per cent from the previous year.

The Australian medicines industry’s R&D investment was the third largest by area of business expenditure, behind financial services and mining.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said the latest ABS data on R&D investment underscored the value of the medicines industry to Australia’s economy.

“These latest figures confirm Australia’s reputation as a global hub for R&D excellence and send a powerful signal to policymakers that R&D is worth supporting.”

“Australia currently boasts some of the best research capability and infrastructure in the world. That is an advantage we must capitalise on.”

“The figures show that developing new medicines are just as important to Australia’s innovative economy as developing new financial products, new cars and new ways of mining.”

The medicines industry conducts more than 800 clinical trials in Australia each year. In 2009 more than 18,000 Australians participated in clinical trials supported by the medicines industry in this country.

Dr Shaw said that Australia needed to remain internationally competitive in order to stay at the forefront of medical research globally.

“The competition for R&D investment from countries such as China, India and Singapore is extremely fierce,” Dr Shaw said.

“However, with the right policy settings we have a precious opportunity to grow our R&D industry and to keep innovative R&D in Australia.

“That would ensure we keep more of our top research scientists engaged in Australian R&D and attract greater investment to our universities and other research institutions.

“It is extremely important that the Government releases and implements the findings of the Clinical Trials Action Group and improves the regulatory environment for trials in Australia if we are to keep and attract greater investment.

“We also need the R&D tax credit legislation to be passed by the Parliament at the earliest opportunity. The tax credit will make Australia more competitive because it effectively lowers the cost of conducting R&D by 10 per cent.”


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