Pharma industry can play ‘central role’ in EU competitiveness, says EFPIA

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Kasezo)
(Image: Getty/Kasezo)

Related tags EFPIA European union Intellectual property Pharmerging economies

EFPIA calls for a new EU industrial policy plan to place the industry in a position to ‘lead global pharmaceutical discovery and development’.

The European Commission (EC) president-elect, Ursula on der Leyen, named her would-be executive team​, ahead of confirmation hearings to be held on November 1 of this year.

On the same day as the nominations were announced, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) posted a call for an industrial strategy for Europe​.

Within the EFPIA’s report, the organization drew attention to five areas where policy makers could drive growth and improve health across the European Union (EU):

  • Better regulation to maintain a world-class system for the approval of new treatments
  • Better innovation policies to enable Europe to lead in R&D
  • A digital Europe that will support patients in their healthcare journey
  • A smart trade agenda that supports EU competitiveness and access
  • Policies to preserve the environment​  

In regard to the second bullet point, the organization called attention to the rising influence of ‘pharmerging’ economies, such as Brazil and India.

In order to protect the European industry, the EFPIA called for the EC to ensure that Europe remains ‘one of the best places’ for pharma R&D, in light of growing competition, and highlighted the importance of robust intellectual property (IP) protection.

Extending from this is the fourth bullet point, in which the organization calls for its IP to be ‘protected and enforced’ around the world. As well as suggesting that removing trade barriers, through easing customs procedures and rules of origin, would “ensure faster access for patients to innovative medicines manufactured in Europe.”

In making demands of the EC to strengthen the industry’s position, the organization highlighted what it provides to Europe economically, in return; its figures show that 2.5 million jobs were supported by the sector, as of 2016, while €100bn ($110bn) was generated by pharmaceutical companies to economies in the region and a further $106bn ($116bn) was contributed through the supply chain and employee spending.

The EFPIA cited Laura Gutierrez, VP of public affairs Europe at Sanofi, as stating, “We have to deliver on the challenges ahead of us: aging populations, climate change, trade, succeeding the industrial transformation in Europe, reducing social inequality, to name but a few.”

“Only a new pharmaceutical industrial strategy for Europe could bring answers to EU citizens,” ​Gutierrez concluded.

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