Positive poppy trial results encourage on-going investigation

Positive results from GSK’s 2013-14 poppy growing trials across Victoria will provide a sound foundation for more targeted trials later this year, and in the medium term the development of a successful poppy industry in the state.

Positive results from GSK’s 2013-14 poppy growing trials across Victoria will provide a sound foundation for more targeted trials later this year, and in the medium term the development of a successful poppy industry in the state.

Currently commercial poppy production only takes place in Tasmania, under strict State Government regulation. GSK commenced extensive Victorian trials last year, and early in 2014 the Victorian Government passed legislation to allow commercial poppy production, a decision that was further supported in last week’s State Budget.

Steve Morris, GSK Opiates Division General Manager said that the results were very encouraging, and further demonstrated the future potential for successful commercial poppy production in Victoria.

“We will be continuing our extensive trialling program in Western Victoria for the 2014-2015 season.
We’ve already selected our trial growers for the coming season and are looking forward to reviewing the next round of trial results, knowing that then we’ll have robust, science based data that will support successful commercial poppy production in Victoria.”

Steve Morris said that the drive to develop a poppy industry in Victoria was underpinned by strong world demand for medicinal alkaloid.

“While poppy contract prices in Tasmania have eased slightly this year, overall customer demand remains positive across the range of poppy products GSK produces, despite a reduced demand for one product- thebaine, in the US market in the past year or two.

Currently Tasmanian grown poppies supply nearly 50% of the world's requirements for medicinal alkaloid, the opiates derived from poppies for the manufacture of pain relieving medicine.

“Year one trials demonstrate that commercial poppy production has a strong future supplementing the Tasmanian industry, and spreading the climatic risk in poppy production.”

GSK pioneered the medicinal poppy industry in Australia nearly 50 years ago when it commenced the cultivation of poppies in Tasmania, and Steve Morris said GSK continues to work closely with the Victorian Government to ensure it has all the necessary information to establish the regulatory framework required to support the legislation.

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

This media release has been issued by Currie Communications on behalf of GSK.

Enquires:
Susan McNair, phone 0439 389 202 or susan@curriecommunications.com.au