Government to investigate the chances for more home-grown medicines manufacturing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic
Federal industry minister Karen Andrews wants to kick off talks with pharmaceutical companies about
increasing the manufacture of medicines in Australia.
According to a report in industry newsletter BioPharmaDisptach, Ms Andrews told Radio 2GB that COVID-19 had exposed Australia’s vulnerability to global supply chain issues.
“I think what the coronavirus has proven to us is that it is wrong to be totally reliant, even reliant to a
large extent, on supply chains that bring in products from overseas,” she said.
“That has demonstrated another range of issues. If we face another epidemic or crisis where
supply chains are demonstrated – how do we deal with that? Part of that is keeping a strong and high
level of storage capacity here.”
The Minister flagged holding talks with pharmaceutical companies about the potential to upscale the production and manufacture of medicines in Australia, and reducing our reliance on low-cost countries like
China and India.
Innovative medicines like biologics are more likely to be manufactured in the US or Europe, BioPharmaDispatch said.
Arrotex Chairman and CEO Dennis Bastas recently said the federal government should incentivise and
support the creation of domestic manufacturing capability while Medicines Australia chief executive Liz
de Somer told BioPharmaDispatch a future discussion on the issue was inevitable.
Ms de Somer said she does not believe the answer is “protectionism” or “a handout
to build a facility that sits idle.”
She also said Medicines Australia companies have not reported any shortages directly related to the pandemic.