PM’s Economic Forum to hear how medicines industry can spearhead post-mining boom future

The medicines industry can offer the Australian economy significant competitive advantages in a post-mining boom future, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw will tell the Prime Minister’s Economic Forum in Brisbane tomorrow.

Dr Shaw, invited by the Prime Minster to contribute to the Forum, said the medicines industry is well positioned to help secure the future of Australia’s innovative manufacturing base.

“We can develop this industry even further into one of the key Australian high-tech industries to help set up a post mining-boom economy, but we do need the right policy settings to encourage innovation, research and manufacturing,” Dr Shaw said.

“At a time when Australia is debating the economic value of manufacturing in this country, we have an industry that already delivers so much to the community and economy through jobs, skills, wages, exports and R&D.

“With some key reforms the medicines industry will be able to continue contributing substantially to sustainable economic growth, driving global investment and supporting high-wage jobs. But we need to ensure Australia is more globally competitive, that we have a stable business environment, and that innovation is valued and supported.

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

“The opportunities from the innovative industry, the generics industry, and the emerging biotech industry are there if Australia wants to capitalise on their potential.”

Dr Shaw will point to key areas where the Australian medicines industry is already making a substantial contribution to the economy and capitalising on Asian growth, including:

  • Earlier this year, GlaxoSmithKline Australia announced that it will invest $60m in its Victorian manufacturing plant to supply markets in Asia. The company is also a major global supplier for influenza medicines.
  • In 2011, AstraZeneca Australia announced that it would revitalise and upgrade its manufacturing plant in Sydney to supply the Chinese market with asthma medicines.
  • CSL, the leading Australian-owned manufacturer of vaccines and medicines, is one of Australia’s leading industrial companies and is expanding its biologic R&D facilities in Melbourne.
  • IDT Limited, an Australian-owned company based in Melbourne, exports active ingredients for cancer medicines to companies all over the world.
  • Australia supplies a quarter of all poppies required to make medicinal opiates, largely sourced from Tasmania.
  • Leo Pharma, a Danish company, has production facilities on the Gold Coast in Queensland that manufacture active ingredients for skin conditions.

“These are exciting innovations that will deliver economic value to Australia, with improved policy settings and real support for innovation,” Dr Shaw said.


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