Comment: Medical innovation needs support

Australia can't claim a single world-class pharmaceutical company - a sad indictment of our level of support for medical innovation, argues UNSW Professor Phil Hogg.

Hogg inside

Despite the high quality of our medical research and health-care practices, Australia can't claim a single world-class pharmaceutical company to support the early clinical development of drug therapies, says UNSW Professor Phil Hogg.

Writing in the Australian Financial Review, Professor Hogg says the lacklustre performance in pharmaceuticals represents a very large hole in Australia's support for medical innovation.

Professor Hogg, who was named this year's NSW Cancer Researcher of the Year, says that despite punching above our weight on the world stage in sports and other endeavours, Australian culture has another face; that of innovation and initiative stymied by fear of failure.

Nowhere is such risk aversion more evident than in the field of medical entrepreneurship.

Early clinical development of new discoveries must be boosted if we are to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians, Professor Hogg says.

Professor Hogg outlined his concerns during the Medical Faculty's 2009 Dean's Lecture on Monday. He was joined in the public seminar and debate on the future of medical entrepreneurship by US-based Australian venture capitalist Dr Paul Kelly and chief executive of Cochlear Ltd Dr Chris Roberts.

The debate was moderated by Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt.

To read a full version of the AFR article go to the Medical Faculty website

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au