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No case to ban patents on genetic materials: Senate

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Media Release

Medicines Australia welcomes today’s report by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee rejecting a Private Members Bill that seeks to ban patents on biological materials.

The report is the latest to demonstrate that there is no case for banning patents on biological materials, including genetic materials. Over the last decade three other Government reports have reached the same conclusion.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said: “It is now time to put this matter to bed once and for all.

“Patents on biological materials are important because they guarantee ongoing investment in developing cutting-edge medicines and therapies. They ensure Australians have access to these medicines as soon as they become available.

“Patents drive innovation, and innovation is the engine of growth in a knowledge-based economy like Australia.

“Had this Bill proceeded it would have put Australia at odds with global trends in IP protection.

“It would have threatened access to the latest medicines and diagnostics, and violated our international trade obligations under the Australia US Free Trade Agreement.

“The Bill would also potentially have threatened the viability of many high-skill, high-wage research jobs across Australia.

“Biological medicines represent the cutting edge of medicine.

“Medicines Australia looks forward to working further with Government to improve Australia’s patent system to bring it into line with global best practice.”

More than 400 biological medicines are currently in development worldwide, and more than 100 are already being used to treat some of humanity’s most debilitating conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

–ENDS–

Contact Person:

Jamie Nicholson
Media Communications Manager
Phone: 0419 220 293
Email:
Jamie.Nicholson@medicinesaustralia.com.au

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