EFPIA swings behind Council’s call for a European Competitiveness Deal

EFPIA and its Member Companies and Associations support the EU leaders call for a new European Competitiveness Deal and call for a dedicated Health and Life Sciences Strategy as part of the wider strategy. Detailed in the Conclusions of the Special Meeting of the European Council (17-18 April 2024), the call aims to secure the Union’s economic resilience, its global competitiveness, its technological leadership, and its attractiveness as a business location[1].

Talking about the Council Conclusions, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said. “It is clear that the EU leaders are acutely aware of the competitiveness challenge Europe is facing. In our sector, we have witnessed a 25% fall in our share of global R&D investment over the past two decades. Considering the sector contributes more to the EU balance of trade than any other, the stakes could not be higher. As the EU considers the Strategic Agenda 2024-2029, creating a new competitiveness deal for Europe and specifically a comprehensive health and life-science strategy within it, could be the catalyst to prevent further decline, reverse these trends and build a healthier, more competitive and resilient Europe”.

Why a dedicated health and life sciences strategy?

As well as being the largest, positive contributor to the EU’s trade balance, the sector is unique in creating societal value by improving health as well as driving growth. It reinvests a greater percentage of revenue back into research and development than any other sector, employing 2.7 million highly skilled people across Europe and fostering an ecosystem of small biotech’s, university hospitals and academics. A strong research-based pharmaceutical industry will be critical to Europe regaining its competitiveness and building economic and health resilience in the face of continued global insecurity.

Time to close the gap

In recent years, other regions of the world such as the US and China have become more competitive and attractive for innovators. We are seeing companies increasingly shifting resources such as research and development, clinical trials, advanced manufacturing and scientific and academic skills to areas with more ambitious life science strategies. The call for the Commission to provide high-quality, timely and thorough impact assessments and competitiveness checks[2] may have come too late for the revision of the EU Pharmaceutical Legislation, however the Council does have the opportunity, in finalising their position on the proposal, to ensure that this new legislation enhances rather than degrades European competitiveness for one of the region’s largest and most strategically important industries.

Ms. Moll went on to say. “This clear signal from the EU leaders must be reflected in the Commission priorities for the next mandate. We need to create conditions that foster and drive research and development in the region, supporting investment in high-tech, sustainable manufacturing while maintaining open, global supply chains. Europe desperately needs a competitiveness deal with a comprehensive health & life sciences strategy for a healthier, more resilient and competitive future.”


[1] 15. P.6. Towards A New European Competitiveness Deal, Special Meeting of the European Council, 17-18 April 2024

[2] 20. P12. A Better Smarter Regulatory Framework, Special Meeting of the European Council, 17-18 April 2024