Medicines Australia says it is concerned about “increasingly alarmist and misguided” reporting by some media on negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its impacts on the prices for medicines in Australia.
“The same fearmongering about price rises for medicines and the collapse of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme happened a decade ago when Australia negotiated a Free Trade Agreement with the United States and those claims have proven to be completely false,” says Medicines Australia CEO Tim James.
“The PBS is more sustainable than ever before and the innovative medicines industry is committed to ensuring that this will always be the case.
“Trade deals, including the TPP, are good for the Australian economy. They open up vast new markets for Australian companies, such as the makers of innovative medicines and vaccines, because they reduce trade barriers.”
James says that at $3 billion per year, medicines are already one of Australia’s largest manufactured exports and the TPP will only see that figure grow.
“Importantly, a regional trade agreement, such as the TPP, has the potential to establish high regional standards for intellectual property protection which can help transform Australia into a leading global hub for research, development and manufacturing of the next generation of highly specialised medicines and vaccines,” James says.
“This will bring enormous benefits to the Australian people, not only through jobs and investment, it will also improve and accelerate patient access to the latest, innovative medicines.
“Australia must find ways to encourage more investment in research and development, clinical trials and the manufacturing of medicines, not give in to fear by maintaining or putting up more barriers to success.
“We shouldn’t let the alarmists derail progress on what will truly be a trade agreement for the 21st century.”
It asked policymakers to ignore the “hysteria and fear mongering” and instead to focus on achieving positive outcomes for Australia through the TPP.
That letter remains as relevant today as it was in March, Medicines Australia says.
The letter outlined Medicines Australia’s stance on the need for Australia to have a globally competitive IP system as the key to our future health and wealth.
“There is always too much focus on the ‘cost’ of strengthening Australia’s IP system, and not enough on the benefits, such as job creation and investment in R&D and high-tech manufacturing,” says James.
“The Liberal Government and Labor Opposition are quite rightly focussing in on the need for more collaboration between our universities and industry in scientific research.
“This partnership will provide enormous benefits to patients, but only by strengthening the IP system will Australia reap the financial rewards of discovering and creating the next generation of treatments.
“Medicines Australia supports the Government in its efforts to sign a TPP that will benefit the Australian people and the local economy.”