By Claire West

Having been fast-tracked into the Australian market with assistance from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), London-based IT company Fivium has been awarded a prestige multi-million-dollar contract by the Australian Government.

Under the agreement, Fivium and the Australian Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) are embarking on a 14-month project aimed at aligning the business processes, work practices and IT systems of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The project will involve modernising the business processes that support the approval and listing of proposed drugs.

Clayton Blake, Director at Fivium, said: “Fivium is very excited to be working with DoHA on the PharmCIS system. The PBS scheme is recognised as one of the most advanced drug subsidy systems in the world. Our aim is to develop a far superior system that will set the benchmark within the industry.”

In 2008/09, when 182 million prescriptions were handled under the PBS, the scheme cost approximately AUD$7.7 billion to operate.

The internal processes that support the PBS are largely paper-based, while the circulation, evaluation and assessment of submissions are also predominantly manual. The major IT re-development that Fivium and the DoHA are taking on will require the consolidation of at least six existing internal systems and interfaces to a variety of external systems.

The contract was awarded at the end of the last financial year (2009/10), in a market hotly contested by giant international corporations, and is scheduled for completion in late 2011.

In preparing an export strategy for the Australian market, Fivium worked with Nicola Bridgett, an International Trade Adviser at UKTI London, taking advantage of advice and support services provided under UKTI’s Passport to Export and, subsequently, Gateway to Global Growth programmes. The service linked seamlessly with UKTI’s Jim Thompson at the British Consulate-General in Melbourne to provide an effective launch platform for Fivium.

Essential market intelligence was provided in several OMIS (Overseas Market Introduction Service) reports prepared by UKTI staff based in Australia, who also provided details of key business and legal contacts, and arranged a reception at the British High Commission in Canberra, at which Fivium representatives were able to meet prospective Australian clients. General advice was also provided on contractual negotiations and financing.

Clayton Blake said: “UKTI have been a critical component of our success in Australia. Their advice, support and contacts in the industry are second to none, and have fast-tracked our expansion into Australia. UKTI put us in touch with contacts we could never have reached on our own as an SME. They also worked tirelessly to help us showcase ourselves in Australia and give us a great launch platform to make the most of the opportunities available and maximise our potential.”