IT'S one of the most regulated industries out there, so "it's a great place for lawyers to play", according to the newly appointed and only specific healthcare partner at law firm Maddocks.
Damien Wurzel was appointed to the Maddocks practice last month in a firm decision to enter the pharmaceutical healthcare game, which the firm has only dabbled in until now.
Joining the firm from Cornwall Stodart, where he had been a partner since 2005, Wurzel said that while the firm has some healthcare experience, this has mainly been in the government end of things. But as the economy worsens, the firm is injecting resources into potential growth areas.
"The firm didn't have an exposure to health. It's a huge part of the economy, it's billions of dollars," he said. "So to not have that as part of the mix is missing out on a large part of where the funding is in the Australian economy. Healthcare is not a discretionary item, people are still getting sick and have to buy drugs.
"The only two industries that were performing fairly well when I came across [to Maddocks] was healthcare and the fast moving consumer goods. Because people get sick and they've got to eat. So I hadn't noticed any drop off in the work" Wurzel said.
Wurzel advises healthcare practitioners, their professional and representative bodies, aggregators of healthcare assets, listed and non-listed companies with healthcare assets, and focuses on companies in the pharmaceutical supply chain and financiers.
Maddocks has been looking to build the firm in growth areas and has been actively recruiting in those areas, the firm said. The firm's CEO David Rennick said: "Many firms would like to have exposure to health but its regulation has multiple nuances. The securing of [Wurzel] with his deep industry knowledge gives us an instant set of new capabilities and profile in this growing area."
But where Maddocks has missed out in healthcare, it makes up for in government work. And Wurzel acknowledges that the biggest player in his game is the government.
"A lot of the work is not strictly legal if you cover off the patent side of things. Working out the cost benefit analysis for government as to why they should be supproting that drug. Working with the health economist in coming up with some compelling reasons as to why the government should support a particualr drug."