An Australian pharmaceutical company says all its profits will be going to patient support and medical research.
A new Australian pharmaceutical company will donate all its profits to medical research and patient support, in what may be a world first.
For Benefit Medicines (FBM) is starting with two breast cancer medications, with all profits to go to Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA).
"Whenever we talked to doctors about it originally, they said this seems too good to be true," FBM director Barry Frost told AAP before the company's media launch on Wednesday.
But he says FBM has binding agreements with BCNA and BCIA to get all profits, is making itself as transparent as possible and will be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
"It is a more sustainable form of capitalism, where people can make a profit but it goes to a social cause rather than to shareholders," Mr Frost said.
"It is an Australian first, if not a world first to actually do that."
When a particular product goes off patent, FBM will source a generic version to be sold alongside the original brand and other generics.
The breast cancer products are both aromatase inhibitor medications, Anastrozole FBM (anastrazole) and Letrozole FBM (letrozole).
Professor Bruce Mann, breast service director at Royal Melbourne and Royal Women's Hospitals, says the concept of a for-benefit pharmaceutical company is way overdue.
"FBM is pioneering a new era of social enterprise in pharmaceutical healthcare in which companies will operate exclusively for social causes, patient benefit and medical innovation," he said.
"By choosing an FBM product, the medical community will be investing in local patient support programs today, and facilitating medical research to improve treatments tomorrow."
BCNA and BCIA strongly welcomed the initiative, saying more lives will ultimately be saved.
National annual sales of aromatase inhibitors exceed $20 million and, Mr Frost says, if very successful, FBM would hope to get half the market share.
If the initiative works, FBM will look at other therapy areas like schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
* BCNA - more than 100,000 members, mostly women diagnosed with breast cancer, provides support, information, treatment, care
* BCIA - the fundraising arm of the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG), a research group committed to the treatment, prevention and cure of breast cancer.