Updated on 17 November 2012
Dr Paul Hutchison - healthcare professional; Member of Parliament, Hunua; and chairman, Health Select Committee, New Zealand
Dr Paul Hutchison is ushering in a new era in the history of New Zealand's healthcare sector. Dr Hutchison, a parliamentarian from Hunua, is the present chair of the Health Select Committee, a key body responsible for bringing the recent changes in the clinical trial industry of New Zealand.
Dr Hutchison, hopes that the island nation leverages its focus, "From a base of stable government, strong institutions, and excellent educational facilities, to focus on research, innovation and its commercialization to form a third tier to our economy, that of primary products and tourism."
New Zealand in the past has not paid much attention to its clinical trial industry. For instance, the country lacks accurate records of trials done in the country or the revenue generated in the nation through clinical trials. It is estimated that pharmaceutical trials held in New Zealand during the year 2000 generated an excess of $100 million.
A report submitted by the Health Committee of New Zealand to the government, mentions that according to Health Strategic Initiatives Review Committee, New Zealand's aggregate annual clinical trial revenue is less than $30 million. In comparison, neighboring country Australia generates $464.71 million (AU$450 million) from clinical trials of pharmaceuticals alone. This significant reduction in revenue generated by New Zealand's clinical trial industry is indicative of the country's weakening competitive advantage.
Following a series of discussions with the regulatory authorities in the country, Dr Hutchison, in June 2011, submitted a 62-page report titled, 'Inquiry into improving New Zealand's environment to support innovation through clinical trials', to New Zealand Parliament. The purpose of the report was to make necessary recommendations in order to improvise on the existing clinical trial industry. The committee made 54 recommendations and the government has now begun acting on them.