Final draft Australian pharmaceutical patents review panel report released
In February 2014 a statement from the Minister for Industry appeared in Hansard indicating that the current Government had no plans to release the final Pharmaceutical patent review report or consider its recommendations. However, on Friday 21st March IP Australia put the final report of the Pharmaceutical Patent Review Committee on its website. See http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/about-us/ip-legislation-changes/review-pharmaceutical-patents/. It is understood that this action by the Government was prompted by a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the report.
According to IP Australia it has been made available in response to “stakeholder interest”. The Government statement on the release of the report can also be found at the site above.
The report has the same flavour and bias as the draft report, although the recommendations regarding patent term extensions have been refined somewhat. Nick Gruen and Tony Harris now propose a 5 year reduction in the effective life of pharmaceutical patents, taking into account patent term extensions, from the current 15 years effective term to an effective term of 10 years, while Diane Nicol proposes a reduction to 12 years effective term. While the Government has distanced itself from the report, pointing out that the review was conducted by an independent panel by the previous Government who did not release the report, they have indicated that they may “take the contents of the report into account when considering future policy”.