Global Context Of The Pharmaceutical Industry

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In recent years there has been much discussion both within Australia and internationally on the extent to which countries benefit from international trade agreements. In this case study we aim to focus on the global context of the pharmaceutical industry, in particular the effect of governmental intervention through the use of international trade agreements, highlighting the problematic patent system and how it affects the market place both internationally and domestically.

I. The Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry is a knowledge based and technology intensive industry that develops, produces and markets pharmaceuticals for use as medications on a world wide scale. Pharmaceutical companies involve both branded and generic products that are governed by a variety of laws concerning the patenting, effectiveness and marketing of pharmaceuticals.


The Australian pharmaceutical marketplace comprises of many differing firms across the numerous sub-industries relating to the production and distribution of medications. Pharmaceuticals are one of Australia’s major manufactured exports with $3.9 billion in 2012-2013, employing approximately 16,500 people. The industry receives substantial support from the Australian Government through both the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the research and development tax incentive.

Despite its comparatively small population, Australia consumes a large amount of medicinal products with sales to

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