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Euro'vision blog

A look at the key issues for pharma across Europe

EFPIA: The patient is at the heart of what we do

And we are at the heart of economic growth, says Richard Bergström

EFPIA health growth manifesto pharma 

European healthcare systems are at a tipping point, driven by the increasing burden of providing world-class care for populations that are living longer - often with one or more chronic diseases - at
 a time when austerity measures are putting pressure on healthcare spending generally, and medicines expenditure in particular.

As Europe begins to emerge from the financial crisis and set out its plans for a return to growth, the time is right to fundamentally review how Europe addresses the inter-connected challenges of improving the health prospects and productivity of its citizens, within an affordable financial framework, while ensuring that the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries - jewels in Europe's economy - continue to thrive. These challenges cannot be separated and addressed in isolation.

Europe cannot take the future competitiveness of its pharmaceutical industry for granted.

Competition is now truly global. While the sector continues to grow in value terms, Europe's share
is declining across many important indicators, such as share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditure, new NCEs discovered and employment. Being world-class, rather than second best, matters.

Now is the time to look ahead. To return to prosperity and preserve its identity, Europe must emerge from the crisis as a highly competitive economy, grounded in a skilled workforce, a healthy population, and a sustainable social model. Any challenges that stand in the way can surely be overcome.

To ensure that the industry contributes to Europe's future success, we must all endeavour to break down barriers and silos, and work together across finance, health and social care, science and industry to deliver improved health outcomes, within a sustainable financial framework and thriving healthcare and industrial ecosystem.

The biopharmaceutical industry is eager to strengthen its partnership with European institutions and governments to make innovation-led growth happen. We believe that now is the right time to open a new dialogue with government and society on how best to do that, so that we may collectively move in the right direction.

We recently launched a roadmap towards an integrated strategy for the life sciences sector in Europe. Health & Growth – Working Together for a Healthy Europe [PDF] calls for a new generation of partnerships and collaborative solutions to address the EU's growing health and competitiveness challenges. The paper lays out a strong case for placing the pharmaceutical industry at the heart of European economic reform and growth. It delivers concrete recommendations towards achieving healthier citizens and workforces, creating new jobs, and reaffirming Europe's position as a global leader in research and development.

As new European leaders and policymakers across the political spectrum begin work to improve Europe's future, EFPIA calls for greater political collaboration to agree a comprehensive strategy for life sciences, based on three separate but interdependent pillars:

1. Improvement of health outcomes and removal of inequalities to better patient benefits

2. Support for sustainable and predictable healthcare systems to speed access to medicines

3. The building of a thriving innovative life sciences sector to promote European competitiveness.

Excitingly, we are already starting to see new forward thinking collaborations emerge.

Just last month industry and the Lithuanian Ministry of Health signed the first ever Joint Working Agreement in the country that paves the way for protecting future health and growth in Lithuania.

The agreement is a concrete step towards delivering the vision of health and sustainable growth set out in the Vilnius Declaration, which was signed during Lithuania's Presidency of the EU last year. It sets out a series of measure to safeguard future innovation and healthcare, including establishing a specific 'Reimbursement Budget' that will reflect and be proportionate to both GDP growth and increase in overall public health care spending.

Through partnering on a holistic life sciences strategy, EFPIA and the Lithuanian Ministry of Health intend to make Lithuania a more attractive location for life sciences investment, and to support a healthy population through the creation of more effective, efficient and sustainable health systems.

Our industry has entered into a number of agreements with European governments, but the Lithuanian agreement has achieved a new progressive, gold standard in collaboration for better health outcomes. It signifies a new dawn in our industry's partnerships, as it delivers a much more comprehensive solution to meeting the health and economic needs of citizens.

I urge other nations to learn from the Lithuanian approach.

Article by
Richard Bergström

is director general of European pharma body EFPIA

8th August 2014

From: Healthcare



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