Industry key to boosting health and medical research


AusBiotech has joined six other key industry and research groups, which are united in their pre-election call for all political parties to adopt a common approach to R&D, and to take action to support health and medical research by supporting the conditions that allow industry to do its part. The signatories represent the medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals industry sector and the health and medical research sector.

Industry is a key driver of better health outcomes in our health system, and creating a business environment that better supports emerging and cutting-edge technologies along the pathway from discovery, through clinical trials, to patients, is essential.

The annual Australian businesses expenditure on R&D (BERD) declined by more than $2 billion (12%) per annum between 2014 and 2016 (the latest period for which data is available). It is now at levels not seen since the global financial crisis. Parliamentarians (present and future) can take action today by committing to support businesses investing in R&D: the key to boosting BERD.

BERD is critical to health and medical research, and all Australians – from bench, to business, to bedside – will benefit when this declining trajectory is reversed. Supporting BERD supports the country’s overall GDP. Government needs to increase Australia’s R&D expenditure to three per cent of GDP in the short to medium term - a desirable pursuit which will help to discover new life-enhancing technologies and improve existing ones. To reverse this trend in declining R&D expenditure, we urge that the R&D Tax Incentive is preserved for the sector.

Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO AusBiotech says, “Industry and research groups stand collectively in their call for all political parties to preserve the R&D Tax Incentive - the most critical centre-piece programme for raising business investment in R&D – and to consider the proposed Australian Innovation and Manufacturing Incentive. These policies would create favourable economic conditions for increasing Australia’s R&D expenditure to three per cent of GDP, and to help to discover new life-enhancing technologies and improve existing ones.”

Yesterday’s Labor’s commitment to “making the R&D Tax Incentive work” and their target of devoting three per cent of GDP to research was welcomed within the release. The health industry’s R&D, including clinical trials, is a key contributor to Australia’s economy. Increasing expenditure in R&D will benefit the full health and medical research pipeline. Beyond the economic benefit to Australia, the life science industry’s R&D is developing life enhancing and saving interventions around the world, allowing Australia to continue to thrive as a home for some of the world’s most talented scientists and medical researchers, and improve its position as a centre for high-quality medical R&D.

Australia will be able to facilitate innovative technological developments and capitalise on the benefits the technologies bring if it further enhances the current R&D and business conditions that exist here.

AusBiotech looks forward to the Election next week and working closely together with the elected party to best support business conditions that reverse the trend in declining R&D expenditure, so as to ultimately develop new therapies that combat devastating disease.

Read the full joint media release here.