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02 Mar 2015

New research head appointed

Renowned immunologist Professor Anne Kelso has been appointed to succeed Professor Warwick Anderson as head of the National Health and Medical Research Council. Professor Kelso is former Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Influenza, and Health Minister Sussan Ley said her distinguished career in medical research made her an ideal choice for the job. Professor Kelso will take up the position in April.

Changes at medicines watchdog

Dr Suzanne Hill is stepping down as Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to take up a role with the World Health Organisation. In other changes announced by Health Minister Sussan Ley, long-standing committee members Professor Robyn Ward and Professor Andrew Roberts have been re-appointed for further four years, and will be joined by former RACGP President Dr Liz Marles and infectious diseases expert Dr Thomas Snelling. They replace Professor Jim Buttery and Professor David Isaacs, who are stepping down after eight years of service.

Pfizer beats anti-competition charge

Drug giant Pfizer has been cleared of charges it misused its market power by trying to get pharmacies to stock its supply of atorvastatin in early 2012. In a blow to the competition regulator, Federal Court judge Justice Flick has dismissed accusations that, by offering incentives to pharmacies to stock its brand product Lipitor as well as its generic version of atorvastatin, the company had engaged in anti-competitive conduct. Justice Flick found that, while Pfizer had taken advantage of its position in the market, its market power was no longer “substantial” at the time it made the offers. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the regulator would “carefully consider” the judgement.

Chief Scientist stays on


Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb has had his appointment extended to the end of 2015. Professor Chubb was due to step down in May, but has agreed to stay on while the Government conducts an international search for his replacement. Professor Chubb has held the position for almost four years.

Published: 02 Mar 2015