Regional development opportunities for medicines highlighted at export review

Today, Friday 7 February 2020, Medicines Australia appeared before Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth Inquiry into supporting Australia’s exports and attracting investment.

Medicines Australia CEO Ms Elizabeth de Somer said this inquiry provides a timely opportunity to reiterate how the Australian innovative medicines, biotherapeutics and vaccines industry can grow Australia’s exports and strengthen trade and investment to build a stronger and more resilient economy.

“There is a real and valuable opportunity to boost the contribution of Australia’s innovative medicines industry, encouraging foreign investment and trade, thus driving economic growth and prosperity.

“To increase foreign investment in Australia’s innovative medicines sector, the Government needs to better incentivise R&D, ensure intellectual property provisions are strong and competitive and harmonise the regulatory frameworks for clinical trials.

“Australia has an advantage over other regional centres because of the high quality and reliability of our health care system, the extraordinary talent in our scientists, researchers and clinicians, first class hospitals and medical infrastructure, as well as reliable rules of law and internationally recognised regulatory practices.

“However, the opportunities we are missing arise from such things as fragmented and onerous regulatory barriers for clinical research across the states and territories and lack of recognition of how to harness the potential,” said Ms de Somer.

“Clinical trials capacity and capability, as well as our talent for discovering, developing and delivering advanced technologies and services, which could be offered regionally, and globally, should be identified as an emerging export opportunity in the same way that education is considered a great Australian export,” she said.

During the inquiry, Ms de Somer highlighted how policy development, focused on growing Australia’s domestic capabilities and economic resilience, is needed and there is no better place to start than in clinical research and development.

“Any policies designed to encourage trade and investment must also ensure that all Australians continue to have access to high quality, safe, effective and cost-effective medicines and that Australia boosts our international competitiveness to incentivise the presence of industry,” said Ms de Somer.

“The potential opportunities for trade and investment of innovative precision medicines will only be realised through reforms to domestic approval and funding models and under new international trade and investment frameworks.

“Investment growth in Australia will see improvements in R&D, increased exports and the employment of highly skilled Australians,” said Ms de Somer

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Further enquiries:

Natalie Wimmer,
Media and Communications Manager,
Medicines Australia