US pharmas doorknock Canberra

By Megan Brodie 3 years ago | In Companies, Industry
  • 3 years ago

19 March 2021

Government and external relations leaders from pharma companies with parent companies based in the US combined to do the rounds of Australian Parliament on Wednesday, armed with a new report produced by PwC titled ‘Attracting US Investors to Australia’.

J&J, Pfizer, AbbVie, Biogen, Gilead, BMS and MSD were among the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) member companies who contributed to the report and were also represented in the delegation which visited bureaucrats and politicians to discuss the needs of US-based companies working in the health sector.

The PwC report aims to “effect regulatory change which will see investment from the United States to Australia increase”.

“Firm action is needed now to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens on business and incentivise US investors to choose Australia as their preferred destination,” the report states.

“This report outlines practical recommendations to remove these burdens and drive forward the Government’s deregulatory agenda.”

The PwC report argues the US is Australia’s largest source of foreign investment and that “the success of the US and Australian economies are tightly intertwined – in 2019, around seven per cent of total economic output was a direct result of US business activities in Australia”.

It notes Australia is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic as a “global leader in health outcomes” but needs to “effect regulatory change to position itself as a prominent destination for US investment to increase our share of outward US investment”.

While arguing generally for less regulation, it also directly calls for the harmonisation of clinical trial governance and ethics approval processes, with the different rules across states and territories continuing to hamper Australia’s attractiveness as a clinical trials destination – and therefore access to investigational therapies.

“Despite the relatively small size of Australia, each state and territory has unique processes for clinical trials and ethics approvals,” the report states.

“This duplication is burdensome to US pharmaceutical companies, particularly so for treatments related to rare diseases where the number of patients throughout Australia who stand to benefit from treatment is often significantly fewer than 100.

“Duplication can result in significant delays in the time to market for treatments – meaning Australian patients wait longer than some international counterparts.

“Further, international harmonisation should occur where trusted nations have approved therapeutics. The development of COVID-19 vaccinations has demonstrated the ability of trusted nations to share efficacy and safety data efficiently.”

The report includes a case study on Brisbane-based medical device company Ellume, which developed a COVID-19 home test with the help of aUS$30 million investment and which was issued with emergency use authority by the FDA in December. In February, the US Department of Defence awarded the company US$232m to fast track construction of an American manufacturing facility.

“The current international and domestic environments present a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia to position itself as a prominent destination for US investment and to increase our share of outward US investment, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” the report states.

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