Further to our previous post about proposed reforms to the patent law, the Australian Government has announced another review – this time of pharmaceutical patents.

The Review Panel consists of Mr Tony Harris (former NSW Auditor General), Prof. Dianne Nicol (Associate Dean of Research, University of Tasmania Faculty of Law) and Dr Nicholas Gruen (CEO, Lateral Economics).

The panel is to evaluate the current system, including Part 3 of Chapter 6 of the Patents Act 1990, which allows for the extension of the term of a pharmaceutical patent by up to five years.  The extension period is to compensate the patentee for delay it may encounter in obtaining regulatory approval to market the patented pharmaceutical product.

The question to be addressed in the Review is whether the current system appropriately balances the objectives of timely access to competitively priced pharmaceutical products and encouraging and protecting research and innovation.

Public comment will be requested during the review process, and the final report is scheduled for early 2013.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the review.