Research Australia has used its submission to a Senate Inquiry to argue against the latest round of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive that have been proposed by the Government.
The changes contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Research and Development Tax Incentive) Bill 2019 are largely the same as the changes the Senate rejected early last year. Research Australia believes the changes are poorly designed and will significantly reduce R&D in the health sector. With expenditure on the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme having fallen dramatically in the last couple of years and with Government support for R&D at an historic low, Research Australia has urged the Senate Committee to reject the changes again.
Research Austrlaia’s submission is available here.
The submission of an alliance of seven groups from across the health and medical research and innovation sector, including Research Austrlaia, is available here.
Research Australia has responded to the consultation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a new International Development Policy for Australia.
While the previous policy funded some research, Research Australia’s submission has highlighted the broader role that research can play; providing case studies of different research collaborations and projects being undertaken in the Pacific region and the contributions they are making to better health outcomes.
Research Australia’s submission.
Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health. Our submission has focused on recommendations related to the role of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), evaluation and mentoring of programs, and the role for research in improving mental health outcomes and the delivery of mental healthcare services.
We have highlighted the significant expertise in program evaluation that exists in the health economics research and health services research community, and the role it could play in supporting the NHMC in evaluating programs. Our recommendations include a role for the NHMC in sponsoring research into gaps in knowledge relating to service delivery and improving the adoption of evidence based care. We have also called for researchers to be given access to data collected and used by the NHMC.
Research Australia’s submission is available here.
Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer ahead of the 2020-21 Budget has used the Government’s own figures showing a drop in R&D investment by Government and business to call for a renewed focus on research and development, including health and medical research. In addition to greater investment in R&D across the board, Research Australia has called for increased funding for the research programs of the NHMRC and ARC; action to make better use of data; and investment in prevention.
To read Research Australia’s submission and the full list of recommendations, click here.
Research Australia has responded to the Victorian Government’s consultation on the Terms of Reference for the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Helath.
Research Australia has recommended the adoption of two specific Terms of Reference. Firstly, we recommended a Term of Reference to identify how health and medical research can be better utilised to:
• identify quality, effective mental health interventions (including for prevention and
• support the more rapid and comprehensive adoption of evidence-based
interventions and models of care in Victorian mental health services;
• improve the safety and effectiveness of Victorian mental health services; and
• develop effective quality care indicators and quality assurance mechanisms.
Secondly, we have recommended the adoption of a Term of Reference requiring the Commissioners to identify specific areas, where it becomes evident during the course of their Inquiry, that more research is needed. Research Australia’s submission is available here.
Research Australia is now awaiting the commencement of the Royal Commission, and the opportunity it provides to highlight the role research can play in improving the mental health of all Victorians.
In the May 2018 Budget the Government proposed a series of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive which would further reduce the support it provides to private sector R&D activity. While advocacy by Research Australia and others has succeeded in having clinical trial expenditure by small companies exempted form the cuts, several of the other changes remain a concern. Research Australia’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on the new legislation has put the case for why the cuts should be rejected by the Senate.
Research Australia’s submission
On 11 February 2019, the Senate Committee handed down its report. It recommended that ” that the Senate defer consideration of the bill until further examination and analysis of the impact of schedules 1–3 is undertaken. In particular, the committee recommends that:
• the approach to the cap on the refundable portion of the Research and Development (R&D) tax incentive is refined, noting investment decisions already taken; and
• the formula for R&D intensity is refined, noting inherent differences in R&D intensity across industries and impacts on businesses with large operating costs.”
Research Australia welcomes the decision and is pleased the legislation is not proceeding in its current form.
The advertising of medicines in Australia is subject to strict controls. The new Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, due to commence on 1 January 2019, emphasises the importance of truthfulness and accuracy in all claims made in advertising for medicines, and the need for advertising to support consumers’ informed decision making.
The TGA has developed draft guidance to assist with the interpretation of the new Code, and discusses ‘puffery’, a claim so exaggerated that no reasonable person could take it seriously. The Guidance suggests that puffery may be permissible in the advertising of medicines. Research Australia’s position is that this should not be the case. It is both inconsistent with the Code and the low levels and wide variability of health literacy in Australia. Some vulnerable consumers can be misled and unduly influenced by exaggerated claims that would be dismissed by most consumers as unbelievable and just ‘marketing’. It is our position that puffery should not be permitted in the advertising of medicines.
Research Australia’s submission
Update: The TGA issued a final version of the Guidance on the Advertising Code (and an amended Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code) on 31 October. The new Guidance states ‘Puffery by its nature is not truthful. It is exaggerated, inaccurate and unsubstantiated and should not be used in advertisements for therapeutic goods.’
The Code and the Guidance are available from the TGA website.
Australians have been shocked by the recent revelations of abuse in our Aged Care System, and have welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission.
Research Australia believes research can play a critical role in delivering safe, high quality aged care and has urged the Government to consider the role for research in developing the Terms of Reference.
Our submission to the Government, responding to the two specific questions posed in the electronic form, is available here.
As a strong supporter of the My Health Records (MHR) System, Research Australia is keen to see it succeed. We believe it has benefits for individuals, improving the quality, timeliness and completeness of information about a patient that is available to treating health professionals. It also has benefits for the broader community, through improving the safety, quality and effectiveness of our health system and as an important resource for research.
Research Australia’s submission to the Inquiry into the MHR System has emphasised the need to ensure that the public retains confidence in the MHR, and has called for a sustained public information campaign. This campaign needs to acknowledge that individuals are being asked to provide the MHR system with their personal information, and give them balanced information about this risk; acknowledging that while steps are being taken to mitigate the risks there is no guarantee. The benefits of the MHR should also be presented both for the individual and for the broader community.
Research Australia’s submission
The commencement of the Opt Out period for the My Health Records (MHR) in July led to heightened concerns about privacy, and in particular the ability of law enforcement agencies and other third parties to obtain access to an individual’s MHR without a court order. The Government has introduced a Bill to amend the legislation and address this issue. Research Australia has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry considering the Bill. Research Australia supports the Bill and the need to ensure public confidence in the MHR.
Read Research Australia’s submission. The Senate Committee’s Report was released on 12 October.