Medicines the top hi-tech Aussie export in 2009

Australia’s pharmaceutical industry has overtaken road vehicles to become the nation’s largest hi-tech exporter according to a new industry “Facts Book” (see backgrounder).

The Medicines Australia Facts Book contains key industry statistics and other information. It highlights the contribution of the local pharmaceutical industry to the health and economic wellbeing of Australians.

Medicines Australia acting chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said the information, compiled by Medicines Australia, demonstrates the value of Australia’s new largest hi-tech exporter.

“Australians can be very proud that fellow-Aussies have been working relentlessly at the lab bench, in hospitals and factories and in many other environments to bring new medicines and vaccines to patients both in Australia and overseas,” Dr Shaw said.

“This is a real export success story. Every day, these new medicines are saving, improving and extending lives of ordinary Australians and patients in other countries.

“Pharmaceutical companies have a proud tradition in Australia of making a difference and those companies are now exporting more goods around the world than any other hi-tech industries, including the car industry, scientific and medical equipment and the wine industry.

“People often forget where the new medicines and vaccines that treat and prevent their illnesses come from. Without the pharmaceutical industry, the medicines and vaccines that people take for granted would not be available today.

“The Facts Book is a timely reminder of the importance the pharmaceutical industry has to the welfare of Australians, not only as a source of new therapies for treating illness, but also as an employer, an exporter and an innovative industry for Australia.”

Four key facts you may not know about Australia’s pharmaceutical industry:

  • Local pharmaceutical companies contribute $7 billion a year to Australia’s economy.
  • The Australian pharmaceutical industry exports $4 billion a year to countries like South Africa, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea and Thailand and in 2008-09 overtook road vehicles as Australia’s largest hi-tech export industry.
  • In Australia the pharmaceutical industry is one of our most important R&D manufacturing industries, investing $860 million in R&D each year.
  • Australian Governments spend less of their health budget on pharmaceuticals than many other OECD countries and have done so since the early 1990s.

The Medicines Australia Facts Book is available here



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