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Pharmaceutical patent term discussion paper

11 June 2003 Media Statement

Pharmaceutical patent term discussion paper released

Issues surrounding the costs and benefits to New Zealand of extending the patent term for pharmaceuticals are examined in a discussion paper released today by Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard.

In December 2002, Cabinet decided that the issue of patent term extension for pharmaceuticals should be considered as part of Stage 3 of the current review of the Patents Act 1953.

The discussion document “The Pharmaceutical Patent Term in New Zealand”, drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development, looks at the costs and benefits to New Zealand of extending the patent term for pharmaceuticals.

“The patent term for pharmaceuticals has implications for the aims of the government’s Growth and Innovation Framework and for the objectives of New Zealand’s public health system,” says Judith Tizard. “We want to achieve an appropriate balance between these objectives.

“An extension may provide benefits in the form of increased investment in research and development in New Zealand by overseas pharmaceutical companies. But it could also impose additional costs on the public health system.

“While we wish to foster increased investment in innovation within New Zealand, we also want to ensure that New Zealanders have access to high quality, affordable pharmaceutical products.”

The discussion document sets out the issues surrounding patent term extension for pharmaceuticals and seeks submissions from interested parties on the matters raised as a first step in the government’s consideration of this issue.

Submissions will be considered in the development of policy recommendations to the Government on possible legislative changes.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 11 July 2003.

Submissions on the discussion paper should be sent to:

Pharmaceutical Patent Term Submissions
Attention: Warren Hassett
Competition and Enterprise Branch
Ministry of Economic Development
P O Box 1473

Copies of the discussion paper are available from the Ministry of Economic Development web site:

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