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Australia amends its free trade deal with US to lessen effect on drug costs

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 19 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:420
  1. Bob Burton
  1. Canberra

    The Australian government has agreed to adopt amendments aimed at offering greater protection to makers of generic drugs. The move will lift a possible amendment to legislation currently passing through the Australian parliament which would have jeopardised the passage of a free trade agreement covering a wide range of goods with the United States (News Extra, 7 August).

    The opposition Labor Party had proposed amendments that, it argued, would prevent “evergreening,” a practice whereby drug manufacturers apply for new patents for minor changes to drugs that are coming off patent. This practice prevents generic drugs entering the market.

    Under Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS), the …

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