Health minister Sussan Ley at ASMI conference

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley is expected to open the 2016 conference of the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) on October 27, 2016. Delegates will hear about opportunities for growth in consumer healthcare, as well as barriers stifling innovation and investment in the sector.

“The consumer healthcare products industry has been growing strongly in Australia and exports have seen unprecedented growth in the last year, particularly to China,” ASMI Marketing and Business Development Director Filomena Maiese said. “This will be a key topic of focus at this year’s ASMI conference.

“Asian consumers view Australian consumer healthcare products positively because of Australia’s strict regulatory system for therapeutic goods. They are using digital technologies to purchase Australian consumer healthcare products online, which is one factor driving Australian export growth.

“Grame Barty from Austrade and Benjamin Sun, an e-commerce specialist from Think China, will explore consumer behaviour in Asia and how Australia’s healthcare products industry can capitalise on it for the future. They will also discuss recent regulatory changes on cross-border and e-commerce in China and what this regulatory reform means for Australia’s exporters.

“Analytics and business intelligence experts IRI will present a snapshot of the industry and explore drivers behind strong growth, as well as emerging trends.

“Healthcare consumer insights will feature prominently at the conference, with Leanne Wells, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, reinforcing the importance of balancing innovation and evidence in self management and self care from the consumer’s perspective.

“George Tambassis, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, will also focus on healthcare consumers and the way pharmacies are expanding their role to provide consumers with a greater range of professional services. He will provide an update on a range of initiatives impacting the consumer healthcare industry and pharmacy, including the progress of real-time monitoring platform medsASSIST and the evolution of ‘front of shop’ in pharmacy to meet changing consumer needs.”

Digital interconnectivity is disrupting traditional models of connecting with health consumers, which is reshaping business models. Caroline Oates from Google Australia/New Zealand will share the latest insights on online health consumer behaviour and new ways of promoting healthcare products and services online to both attract new customers and deepen engagement with existing customers.

Professor John Skerritt from the Therapeutic Goods Administration will describe the latest developments on the regulatory front and what they mean for the industry.

“In Australia regulatory barriers are a disincentive to investment in R&D, new products and services, manufacturing facilities, and export capacity,” Ms Maiese said.

“Regulatory reform is urgently needed to incentivise investment in innovative switches and to better enable industry innovation and growth.

“The conference will conclude with a gala dinner at which the 2016 ASMI Diamond Awards will be presented. They recognise Quality Use of Medicines, innovation and marketing best practice, and recognise and reward companies for innovative and leading-edge creative work. The ASMI Sales Diamond Awards recognise ASMI member sales teams for excellence in pharmacy service and sales initiatives. It’s a great way to showcase and celebrate best-in-class industry efforts from a sales and marketing perspective.”