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Trans Tasman Envy

RMI Media Release

28 May 2008

Trans Tasman Envy

“The New Zealand pharmaceutical industry and medical sector can only look with envy and frustration at the Rudd Government’s new initiative to increase investment in pharmaceutical R&D, clinical trials and manufacturing in Australia” says RMI chief executive officer Ken Shirley.

“Australia’s new Pharmaceutical Industry Strategy Group announced this week by Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research reflects very favourably on a Government that appreciates the considerable economic, science and health benefits that flow from a vibrant pharmaceutical industry.

“While most OECD and many developing countries actively encourage investment in pharmaceuticals, successive New Zealand Governments have done the opposite and New Zealanders are paying the price.

“International pharmaceutical companies invested over $100million in New Zealand ten years ago while today it is less than $20million and shrinking.

“Not only have we lost access to many clinical trials but we have also lost many scientists, researchers and clinicians who seek to work in environments which embrace clinical research.

“A narrow short sighted emphasis on cost containment in pharmaceutical investments has turned New Zealand into an unwelcoming state controlled market where so many modern and innovative medicines are simply not available. Inevitably this lack of investment will progressively be reflected in sub-optimal health outcomes.

“The Government’s medicines strategy released last December could have been a wonderful opportunity to set a framework for meaningful change but regrettably it is an inadequate response to the serious systemic problems and is mostly about perpetuating the existing model.

“The pharmaceutical industry in New Zealand would welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the New Zealand Government on a similar basis to the Australian model” Ken Shirley concluded.

ENDS

To view a copy of the Medicines Australia media release use the link below:
http://www.medicinesaustralia.com.au/pages/page118.asp

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