Final Report for Pharmaceutical Patents Review released but Government distances itself from the Report

Despite the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, announcing in Parliament on 11 February 2014 that the Government had no plans to release the Final Report for the Pharmaceutical Patents Review (see Patent Term Extensions are here to stay … for now), the Government has now backtracked and released the Final Report “in response to stakeholder interest”.

However, the Government has released the following statement on the Report:

“The Pharmaceutical Patent Review was commissioned by the previous government and conducted by an independent panel. The review panel provided its final report to the previous government in May 2013, which did not release the report.The government notes that the report is one of a number of reviews of the pharmaceutical system conducted during the term of the previous government.

The government has no plans to respond to the report at this stage but may take information in the report into account when considering future policy. The views expressed and recommendations made in the report are those of the review panel and do not necessarily reflect government policy”.

With regard to Patent Term Extensions, the Final Report recommends reducing the maximum effective patent life provided from 15 years to 10 years (as suggested by review panel members Harris and Gruen) or 12 years (as suggested by review panel member Nicol), and using part of the associated savings to fund R&D directly.

In light of the Government statement, which distances itself from the findings of the Final Report, it is unclear whether this recommendation will ever be implemented.