Australia Speaks!

Research Australia has been asking Australians for their opinions on health and medical research and its role in our society since 2003. Over the past 14 years it has been clear Australians consider healthcare and health and medical research as a high spending priority for the Australian Government.

Australia speaks! 2017 opinion poll

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Overwhelming support for embedding research in the health system

Translating research findings quickly and efficiently into changes in clinical practice is one of the keys to improving patient management, reducing adverse events and readmissions, and
reducing wasted spending on unnecessary tests and treatments.

Ultimately, embedding research in Australia’s health system can deliver safer, more effective, evidence-based and efficient health care.

Support for Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a critical part of the translation of new medicines, therapies, and practices into healthcare. These can also benefit patients, providing access to new treatments that are otherwise not yet available. Research Australia has been undertaking polling about clinical
trials since 2004, and public support for clinical trials has remained strong over this period.
This public support makes Australia a great place to conduct clinical trials, along with our strong regulatory framework, world class medical and research facilities and educated and expert research and healthcare workforce.

Research Australia advocates for a sustainable and strong clinical trials environment, driving evidence-based change in the health system and new commercial opportunities.

Developing New Drugs

Another factor in the translation of research discoveries into healthcare is the time and money required. In the case of medicines, it is estimated to take between 10 and 15 years to bring a new vaccine or medicine to market and $3.5 billion (Medicines Australia, Facts Book 4th Edition). We wanted to know what the level of understanding of this is in the broader community.

Why ask people how much it costs or how long it takes?
It’s not important that people know the actual cost of developing a medicine – what does matter is that they understand that it is a long and expensive process.

This helps to shape the public’s expectations about when that research ‘breakthrough’ they hear about might become a new medicine, and why some drugs, particularly for small patient groups, are so expensive. It’s not just about the cost of manufacturing the pills in that bottle – it is all the years of research and development that led to it and all the new approaches that were tried and didn’t work.

With the initial research phase, often publicly funded in our universities and research institutes, taking so long, sustained public funding is essential. And with the majority of the development costs for a new medicine or vaccine borne by private pharmaceutical companies in the later stages, private sector investment is equally important.

Acknowledgements
The polling for this report was conducted by Roy Morgan Research, a Research Australia Platinum Member.

Roy Morgan grey

Thank you to all for assisting Research Australia with this important work.

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