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Monday, 22 November 2010
Page: 1799

Senator XENOPHON (7:45 PM) —I, and also on behalf of Senator Fielding, move the second reading amendment standing in our names:

At the end of the motion, add: but the Senate calls on the Government:

(a)   to request advice from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee on any new evidence on whether or not two medicines, rosuvastatin and atorvastatin, should be included in the existing statins therapeutic group;

(b)   to examine whether there are any barriers to generic medicines entering the market through the inappropriate use of intellectual property rights over product information, building on work currently underway, and to table a report by 30 June 2011 on these barriers and appropriate mechanisms to address them; and

(c)   to convene a discussion every six months until 1 July 2014, with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the National Pharmaceutical Services Association, the Generic Medicines Industry Association, and Medicines Australia on the impact of the reforms in this Bill and any unintended consequences or relevant issues and to table a report on this discussion every six months.

Senator XENOPHON —Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator XENOPHON —Two minutes is all I need.

The PRESIDENT —That is generous.

Senator XENOPHON —You are a generous man, Mr President.

The PRESIDENT —It wasn’t me who granted you leave.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells —It was me.

Senator XENOPHON —Senator Fierravanti-Wells is a generous woman. I have already spent 10 seconds thanking people for their generosity. In relation to the amendment, I want to say that quite a significant issue was put to me by the generic medicines industry about a potential abuse of intellectual property rights by pharmaceutical companies, and that is something I want to pursue. I think Senator Boyce has acknowledged that concern—if I am not mistaken.

Senator Boyce —Yes.

Senator XENOPHON —I acknowledge and thank Senator Fielding for arranging a meeting with the generic medicines representatives and with the minister’s office earlier today. That was a very useful initiative on the part of Senator Fielding. I urge members to support this. I urge the opposition to support this amendment; it is certainly an improvement on the government’s current position.