MTPConnect: Clinical trials add $1.1bn to economy

Latest News

MTPConnect has released a new report, ‘Clinical Trials in Australia: the economic profile and competitive position of the sector’, it describes as the first comprehensive overview of the entire clinical trials landscape in Australia.

Produced in collaboration with LEK Consulting and funded by government under the Industry Growth Centre Initiative, the report includes input from a range of sector participants and stakeholders.

Previous reports on the activity and economic profile of clinical trials have focused on sub-segments of the sector. MTPConnect says its new report provides a more holistic and comprehensive overview of clinical trials in Australia, including investigative and observational trials, trials conducted in public and private settings, and trials sponsored by both industry and non-industry sponsors.

The report highlights the significant contribution the conduct of clinical trials makes to the Australian economy, evaluates Australia’s strong competitive position in the world market, and details priorities for future growth. 

Key findings of the report include:

  • the Australian clinical trials sector is large and growing - approximately 1,360 new clinical trials were commenced in Australia in 2015, and this figure has been growing at roughly 5 per cent per year since 2010, outpacing the US, the UK, and the overall global average growth rate;
  • investment in active clinical trials accounted for roughly $1.1 billion in gross expenditure in 2015 - this includes approximately $930 million invested by industry sponsors, the large majority of which are international medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; and,
  • The Australian clinical trials sector supported at least 6,900 high skilled jobs in 2015, the large majority requiring tertiary education levels. 

MTPConnect says the report highlights the economic profile of the Australian clinical trial sector is significant, with the potential to surpass $2 billion of annual expenditure in the next 10 years, creating more than 6,000 new high-skilled jobs.

“Australia has a strong reputation as a destination for clinical trials globally. The drivers of this success include the quality of our research infrastructure and output, our medical experts, financial incentives that support cost competitiveness such as the R&D Tax Incentive, and our ability to offer a rapid trial start up process due to reforms such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Clinical Trial Notification scheme and streamlined ethics approvals,” said MTPConnect CEO Sue MacLeman.

Health minister Greg Hunt congratulated MTPConnect on the report.

“The Government recognises the vital importance of clinical trials and research to deliver better health outcomes for Australians. Clinical trials have been behind many of Australia’s great medical research success stories, like the Gardasil vaccine and Cochlear implants, and continue enhance Australia world class medical research reputation.

“Clinical trials are the backbone of the health system and with the leadership of researchers are driving new treatments, drugs and devices that are changing the health landscape and making a difference to health and wellbeing.

“To build on our successes the Government is investing $18 million under the first disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund to support new activity and reinforce the important role of clinical trial networks. This is in addition to the more than $70 million awarded on average each year for new clinical trials by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Australian Government is also working with states and territories under a $7 million initiative to further streamline trial operations making it easier for participants, investigators and sponsors to carry out this important work.

“Australian is a preferred destination for clinical trials and I congratulate MTPConnect on this important report which demonstrates why that is the case.”