GSK to Trial Poppy Growing in Victoria

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia announced today that small scientific trials of poppies, used as a source of medicinal alkaloids, have commenced in Victoria following the Victorian Government granting approval.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia announced today that small scientific trials of poppies, used as a source of medicinal alkaloids, have commenced in Victoria following the Victorian Government granting approval.

“These small trial plots, each less than the size of a tennis court, are being grown in different areas around the state. The information from these trials will be used to evaluate the potential to grow poppies on a commercial scale in Victoria.” GSK Opiates Division General Manager, Steve Morris said.

GSK pioneered the medicinal poppy industry in Australia nearly 50 years ago when it commenced the cultivation of poppies in Tasmania. The industry is closely regulated by Government, and Tasmania is currently the only state where poppies can be legally grown. Tasmanian grown poppies supply nearly 50% of the world's total poppy derived medicinal alkaloid (opiate) requirements. Opiates are primarily used in the manufacture of pain relieving medicines.

“We view Victoria as supplementing Tasmanian supply, not replacing it. We are open to new opportunities for poppies in Tasmania and remain committed to the State.

“GSK will continue to invest in Tasmania and consolidate our presence there. Exploring an option in Victoria will ensure we can meet the growing demands of our customers and spreads geographic risk of supply. We have no plans to import overseas sourced poppy material into Tasmania,” he said.

Security for the trials will be managed by a series of control measures in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Health and Victoria Police.

GlaxoSmithKline is a global research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company with a mission to improve the quality of human life. In Australia we have delivered the highest quality medicines, vaccines and over-the-counter healthcare products since 1886. We contribute to Australia’s economy through new approaches to agriculture and manufacturing, and by investing in local research and development. For more information visit www.gsk.com.au

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