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EFPIA identifies weaknesses in EUís competitiveness report

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association (EFPIA) has challenged EU governments to address "the systemic weaknesses" identified in the 2006 EC Competitiveness Report

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association (EFPIA) has challenged EU governments to address "the systemic weaknesses" identified in the 2006 EC Competitiveness Report, which are "restraining the growth of the pharmaceutical sector" by limiting its key contribution to health, growth and jobs in the region.

On pharmaceuticals specifically, the commission sees "a contrast between a growing pharmaceutical production in Europe and a persistent innovation gap, compared with the US".

EFPIA Director General, Brian Ager, said of the report: ìThe fact that for the first time a full chapter of a European Commission Competitiveness Report is devoted to the pharmaceutical industry reflects the growing importance of this sector for EU policy-makers.

The commission notes that "different national pricing/reimbursement decisions and the diverging requirements to measure relative effectiveness have had undesired consequences on other Member States with different systems and have often caused unforeseen ramifications for the EU market as a whole".

The report also revealed that China and India pose a growing threat to the EU pharmaceutical industry, which might be displaced in the long run by economies with lower labour costs and greater potential in terms of both market size and scientific capabilities.  In 1995, for example, China developed only 133 new patents in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology but this figure rose to 4,826 in 2004.

ìGiven the shortcomings in European competitiveness attributed at least partially to the distortions created by existing pricing and reimbursement policies, the commission presents the Pharmaceutical Forum as a platform to address some of the pressing issues, the report continued.

EFPIA is actively taking part in this strategic policy dialogue created by commissioners Verheugen and Kyprianou to restore competitiveness in the EU pharmaceutical sector and address related public health issues.

The Pharmaceutical Forum must take forward some crucial issues outstanding from the G10 Medicines process, and deliver practical progress on three key issues:

  • Reduce existing market distortions and market access hurdles (as regularly requested by EU courts who consider that the Commission's policy on parallel trade has to be adapted to the specificities of the pharmaceutical sector)
  • Steer the development of best practices in the use of health technology assessment for pricing and reimbursement decisions
  • Ensure patient unhindered access to quality health information from multiple sources, including industry

Ager concluded: ìEurope needs to find the right balance between rewarding innovation, providing patient access to medicines and managing costs of social security systems.î

20th February 2007

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