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Political Donations

Medicines Australia’s Role

Medicines Australia represents the discovery-driven, innovative medicines industry in Australia. Our member companies supply medicines that are available to Australian patients through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, as well as providing a range of other medicines and vaccines to the Australian community.

In representing the Australian medicines industry, Medicines Australia interacts with the Australian political system by:

  • engaging with political stakeholders, governments and government departments, the broader Australian medicines industry, consumer groups, researchers and health professionals to develop health and industry policy
  • building and maintaining relationships with government for fair reimbursement of medicines (through the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme) to ensure the continuation of a viable medicines industry.

Medicines Australia Policy on Political Donations and engagement with political stakeholders (approved July 2018) 

Purpose: To provide a framework for ethical, legal and transparent public policy engagement. As an industry association, Medicines Australia will avail itself of legitimate and reasonable opportunities to engage with political and government stakeholders.

Scope: This policy applies to any situation when Medicines Australia, as a representative of the medicines industry, engages with parliamentarians, political parties and other relevant stakeholders to discuss and develop health and industry policy settings.

Policy: Medicines Australia will not provide cash donations, gifts, items or services to political parties or candidates. Medicines Australia will not make direct campaign funding donations (ie a sum of money with no event or access opportunity attached) to political parties or individuals.

Medicines Australia may pay a fee for attendance at events which provide an opportunity to hear from or engage with political stakeholders.

Medicines Australia may engage in policy discussions with political parties including through attendance at conferences, policy workshops, round table discussions and other opportunities.  Medicines Australia may pay a fee for attendance of representatives at such events which may include a political fund-raising component. These fees will be within the overall limit in the budget approved by the Board with an upper limit of $10,000 per individual politician in any one year.

These fees include but are not limited to:

  • fees paid to national political parties for attendance at an event or series of events (for example a business programme),
  • fees paid to state branches of a political party for attendance at an event or series of events (for example, a party’s annual general conference business programme), and
  • fees paid for attendance at a function with an individual or several politicians (for example, hosted dinners in the name of members of parliament or senators).

Medicines Australia will seek access across the political spectrum in order to raise awareness and understanding of the medicines industry and will generally operate at the national level.

Medicines Australia will ensure that it is up-to-date and compliant with the funding and disclosure requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act and the guidelines of the Australian Electoral Commission. Any payments made must be allowable under Federal and state laws regarding the giving and receiving of political donations.

Medicines Australia should be fully cognisant of the activities that any sponsorship or contribution is supporting and must critically examine these activities to ensure they will successfully withstand reasonable public, professional and community scrutiny.

Medicines Australia will seek access across the political spectrum in order to raise awareness of the medicines industry and will generally operate at the national level.

This policy is not intended to apply to any political donations or gifts made by an employee of Medicines Australia in a personal capacity. Medicines Australia acknowledges the right of individuals to participate in the political process and does not seek to restrict employees having political views or associations (including membership of political parties, attendance at political events or making political donations). However, employees should make it clear that any political involvement is purely in a personal capacity and does not represent the views of Medicines Australia.

Directors of the Medicines Australia Board will inform the Company Secretary of all political donations or gifts made in a personal capacity.  The Company Secretary will include this information in the Register of Directors’ Interests.

This policy is the policy of Medicines Australia and is not the policy of individual member companies.

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