New Report Highlights Pharmaceutical Industry’s Contribution to Australia’s Economy

Medicines Australia CEO, Tim James, today welcomed a new report by the Department of Industry’s Office of the Chief Economist on major economic trends affecting Australia’s industries, and the significant opportunities for growth in areas such as medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.

“It’s encouraging to see a major Government report that recognises the value of the pharmaceutical industry to Australia’s economy,” Mr James said.

According to the report, the medical technologies and pharmaceuticals industries collectively employ more than 70,000 Australians, generate exports worth around $4.5 billion annually, invest more than half a billion dollars in research and development each year, and produce almost $10 billion in output every year.

The report also notes that ‘Asia has demonstrated a growing appetite for healthy lifestyles and this provides great opportunities for the Australian pharmaceutical industry’.

“We have been saying the same thing for years,” Mr James said.

“The global market for medicines and vaccines is set to double over the next 10 years, with much of the growth coming from emerging markets in Asia. Australia is well-placed to capitalise on this growth.

“We are conveniently located and we have a world-class medical research infrastructure, highly-skilled labour force and a well-established reputation around the world for manufacturing safe, high-quality medicines and vaccines.

“With the right policies in place, Australia could more than double its exports of medicines and vaccines by 2024.”

In addition to the “Industry Growth Centres” initiative, which was announced in October, the Government yesterday also confirmed its intention to establish the proposed Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

“Medicines Australia strongly supports the establishment of the MRFF,” Mr James noted.

“The benefits to Australians of advances in health technologies cannot be underestimated. We enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in the world, with death and disability rates from all causes dropping by more than half over the last four decades.”

In 2008, Access Economics estimated that for every dollar invested in medical research, Australians gain approximately $2.17 in health benefits in return. A separate study by Lateral Economics in 2011 showed that by maintaining even current levels of investment in medical research, Australians could gain up to $150 billion in health benefits 2021.

“Government policies are fundamental influencers of investment decisions by pharmaceutical companies,” Mr James said.

“We need a stable and globally competitive environment, including positive policies, to encourage high-tech industries like the pharmaceutical sector to directly invest here for the long term.”


Contact Person:

Alexia Vlahos
Phone: (02) 6122 8503