Patents important for developing new medicines

The decision by the Federal Court to allow patenting of genetic materials highlights the importance of maintaining strong intellectual property laws to promote the development of new medicines, the Chief Executive of Medicines Australia Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

“Patents on biological agents such as isolated genetic materials are important because they ensure ongoing investment in developing cutting-edge medicines and diagnostic tests,” Dr Shaw said.

“More importantly, a strong patent system helps ensure Australians have access to the latest and most effective treatments as soon as they become available.

“We have always been concerned that any efforts to restrict patenting of new medical technologies risk undermining the development of new medicines and vaccines.

“Four government inquiries over the last decade, including two by the Australian Senate, have found that there is no case for banning patents on biologicals materials.”

Last year, the McKeon Review also recommended that Government reject calls to exclude biological materials from patentable subject matter.

“In fact, the McKeon Review called on Government to ensure Australia’s IP system is ‘strong, stable, predictable and harmonised with global best practice’,” Dr Shaw said.

“We need more work in this area so that patients in Australia continue to have access to the latest therapies and the biopharmaceutical industry continues to invest in research and development.

“Having robust intellectual property laws is critical to developing new medicines and vaccines and Australian needs to ensure it maintains international best practice in this area.”


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Alexia Vlahos
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