Chemist couple finds right mix in law and health - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Chemist couple finds right mix in law and health

19 Sep 2017

After 30 years as pharmacists, a Sunshine Coast husband and wife are completing Law Honours degrees at USC as they seek to take their careers in new directions.

Teddy Henriksen and wife Simone, who have worked together since purchasing their first pharmacy in 1994, said they wanted a challenge to extend their traditional pharmacy roles.

“We are both interested in the interface between law and health, however from different angles,” said Mr Henriksen, who is studying patenting strategies related to the release of biosimilar drugs in Australia.

Mrs Henriksen is investigating how the self-regulation of Australia’s privately-run drug rehabilitation centres affects the health outcomes and consumer protection of patients.

Head of USC’s Law School Professor Pamela O’Connor said the topics highlighted how student research projects were contributing to building knowledge in Law and other disciplines.

Mr Henriksen drew on his dual perspectives of law and health when he presented at the recent Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s annual conference in Sydney.

The presentation covered the intellectual property implications of releasing biosimilar medicines and the impact on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“Biosimilar drugs are highly similar versions of biological medicines made from living microorganisms that are used to treat many chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis,” he said.

“At the community pharmacy level, there is support to give patients the option of biosimilar medicines in the same way as generic drugs, as it will make treatments more accessible and affordable.

“My key question from my research is how to ensure a healthy biosimilar medicine industry, as the patents for many biologics start to expire in Australia and biosimilars begin to enter the market.”

The Pelican Waters couple, who met as undergraduates at a national conference of pharmacy students in the mid-1980s, said continual learning had always been part of their careers.

“Simone was the first to decide to expand into law,” Mr Henriksen said. “As she filled out the QTAC form she suggested that, since we already had matching degrees, we should do it again.

“We are hoping that the mix of our pharmacy backgrounds and our newly-acquired legal skills will lead somewhere exciting.”

The couple, who operated pharmacies in Gatton, Toowoomba, Maleny and inner Brisbane, combine work as chemists in Nambour and Woodford with their Law studies.

Clare McKay

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