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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26394

Senator ALLISON (7:43 PM) —Why is it that this is just about generics? Why did Australia not negotiate as part of the agreement for, say, pharmaceutical companies to give notice prior to bringing in a new so-called `innovative' drug—the so-called `me-too' drugs where they change a molecule here or there or do a minor modification to that pharmaceutical—and claiming that it requires a new patent? Typically this happens at the end of a patent period. The pharmaceutical companies say, `This is coming off patent so we'll create a new one which is just like the old one, except that we can argue under the patent laws that this is different.' As I understand it, the majority of cases which come before our courts are related to the question: why was there not a requirement that any company whose drug was coming close to the end of the patent would need to advise whoever might be interested in the fact that they intended to replace that with a me-too type drug?