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Australian Pharmaceutical Industry

The Australian medicines industry includes pharmaceutical, OTC and complementary healthcare segments. It is a key industry in Australia which provides benefits to both the health of Australians and to their economy.

The pharmaceutical industry in Australia is made up of locally owned companies and those who are global companies with a local subsidiary or offices operating here. Companies from this industry operate in nearly all states of Australia, however most are concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne.

Some companies specialise in prescription products or OTC or complementary products however, in many cases, companies operate across more than one segment.


Prescription Medicines Segment

The prescription medicine segment of the overall industry is involved with development, supply, production and supply of a range of medicines which are provided to patients through GP and specialist prescriptions, pharmacy and hospital supply in Australia.

The industry body of the prescription medicines segment is called Medicines Australia. A number of reports and downloads can be obtained from their website at

Links to a few useful reports from the Medicines Australia website are included below but for a more thorough overview, their website should be visited, which includes a number of articles and publications about the Australian industry.

Industry information Industry Facts at a Glance

PBS Health Facts at a Glance R&D facts at a Glance

Quality Use of medicines Innovating-For-Life


Non-Prescription Medicines Segment

The non-prescription segment of the Australian medicines industry includes products that are sold from pharmacies, supermarkets or the trade route (service stations, convenience stores etc).

These products can have a variety of different poison scheduling listings which determine their availability for example:

  • an S3 scheduling means the product is available as a Pharmacist Only product (supply only available directly from a pharmacist)
  • an S2 scheduling means the product is available as a Pharmacy Only product (supply only available from a pharmacy, regardless of whether a pharmacist or pharmacy assistant provides the product. Not available outside pharmacy)
  • A non-scheduled product can be supplied at any place where it is sold e.g. grocery, newsagents, health food shops etc.

There are two industry bodies that represent companies in the Non-prescription segment of the medicines industry: ASMI and CHC.


Australian Self Medication Industry(ASMI)

ASMI is the peak body representing companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of consumer healthcare products in Australia.

A number of useful reports and downloads can be obtained from the ASMI website.

Visit ASMI website.

Review the latest ASMI Annual report which contains a summary of ASMI goals and mission.


Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC)

CHC is the leading expert industry association representing businesses involved in all facets of the complementary healthcare industry, a sector within the non-prescription medicines industry.

Visit the CHC website.

Need more information?

This information is a brief overview of some facets of our industry. If you need a detailed overview of the Australian medicines industry, please consult us at OzPharma.

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