The pharmaceutical domain represents a type of internationalised policy network theorised in recent writings on neo-liberalism, neo-corporatism and governance. This article presents an analysis of developments in prescription drug regulation in Australia. A relatively stable, state-managed pattern of interaction has been superseded by less closed exchange, and the government itself has fragmented into agencies pursuing different objectives. Developments in the three core regulatory areas are described: safety and efficacy controls, social policy (access and equity), and state support for industry (economic) development. Consensus-building occurs within the context of the National Medicines Policy. The pharmaceutical industry, represented by Medicines Australia, has a stake in all aspects of pharmaceutical policy and regulation, and draws upon unique resources (expertise and lobbying capacity). The context for the developments described is Australia's abandonment of a protectionist version of the Keynesian welfare national state in favour of the model of the competition state, which is oriented towards support for the growth of high technology industries such as pharmaceuticals, premised on partnerships with business.
Available online 21 October 2003.
Field of Research
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified