Medical Research Statistics:
Australia spent $1.7bn on health Research & Development (R&D) in 2000-01.
Cancer was the leading area of research $160m (or 9% of the total).
Public sector investment in R&D is declining while the private sector investment grew rapidly.
Capital expenditure is 16% of total health R&D, mainly land and buildings (10%) while current expenditure (mainly labour) is 8%.
Australia ranks at the lower end of the OECD spectrum for health R&D spending related to GDP and trending in the wrong direction over the late 1990s (i.e. declining from a low base).
Australia, however, benefits substantially from global investments in health R&D with the fourth highest lifespan in the world. The gains are derived from reduced death rates in cardio and infections diseases, and reductions in morbidity and mortality from cancer.
Australia has contributed significantly to these global advances including development of vaccines against cervical cancer (an ACRF Initiative – see Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, which was built with $1 million funding from the ACRF in 2001).
Living standards improve as much due to health gains as to consumption gains.
In Australia, improved healthspan over 1960-1999 is valued at $5.4 trillion – 46% of Australian consumption ($2.9 trillion from longer life and $2.5 trillion from greater wellness).
Future R&D gains have potentially stunning impacts – reduced deaths from cancer by one-fifth as a result of R&D would be worth $184bn. To Australians, more than total forecast Commonwealth spending in the 2003-4 fiscal year.
Moira A Clay, PhD: independent analysis by Access Economics commissioned by the Australian Society for Medical Research, 2003