The European Commission’s Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery includes important initiatives on resilience, the green agenda and digitalisation. However, in order to grasp the opportunity to make the region a world leader in life sciences, an objective outlined in President von der Leyen’s mission letter to Commissioner Kyriakides, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, more needs to be done across the various policy levers available to the EU.
The research-based pharmaceutical industry invested an estimated €37,500 million in R&D in Europe in 2019. It directly employs some 795,000 people in the region and according to a report released by PwC in June 2019 supports around 2.7 million jobs across the EU. The same report highlighted that the activities of pharmaceutical companies contributed over €127 billion directly to the EU economy, with an additional €140 billion provided through the supply chain and employee spending. Highlighted by the COVID crisis, Europe has a long history of vaccine manufacturing, and benefits from a strong industrial infrastructure with 76% of the major innovative global vaccine manufacturers production being in Europe.
Speaking about the publication of the strategy, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said “Sustaining and developing pharmaceutical investment in Europe is contingent on creating a policy framework that supports the evolution of the region’s innovation and manufacturing ecosystem and an industrial strategy that ensures Europe remains competitive in the face of intense competition from other regions. The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the inextricable link between our health and our economic prosperity. The research-based pharmaceutical industry has proven its innovation capabilities and supply commitment in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. It is uniquely placed and committed to play a key role in preparing the Union for future pandemics, in driving economic recovery, building resilience and future growth, but only if the drivers of innovation in the Industrial Strategy and Pharmaceutical Strategy are in place.”
For the research-based industry in Europe that means; an IP framework that protects investment in medical research in the EU and globally, a research infrastructure that helps deliver the next generation of health innovation, a regulatory framework that is stable, fast, effective and globally competitive and faster, more equitable access to innovative treatments for patients across Europe.
EFPIA is committed to contribute to the Structured Dialogue on Supply Chain Security referenced in the strategy. We appreciate the recognition of the nuances between the different actors across the medicines and vaccines supply chains which leads to the need for “evidenced-based, targeted policy measures”. We note the interest expressed by certain Member States in developing Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) in Pharmaceuticals and hope the analysis of the industrial ecosystem for the health sector will provide a platform to develop policies that foster and support sustainable innovation in this crucial pillar of the EU economy.
As highlighted by the European Parliament and the European Council in October 2020, the EU “pharmaceutical strategy should be aligned with the industrial strategy and focused on ensuring that Europe remains an innovator and world leader in the manufacturing of medicines and active ingredients with the objective of ensuring fair access to patients”, as an industry we are committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve these goals.