The reforms of the European Union aim to get new drugs to patients faster and at a lower price, but this is against the interests of the industry, writes Politico.
The draft plan envisages changes in the legislation of the European Union (EU) pharmaceutical industry. The plan is to shorten the period during which pharmaceutical companies can sell their own branded drugs without competition. At the moment, companies that create medicines with a new formulation can market them for ten years without fear of similar medicines entering the market. The EU wants to shorten this period by two years. This would mean that cheaper medicines are on the market sooner and therefore accessible to a wider population.
Currently, patients in Germany receive new medicines on average two years earlier than, for example, in Poland or Romania. This is partly because Western European countries have the experience and framework to take the lead in the complex process of introducing new medicines.
Part of the responsibility must also be taken by pharmaceutical companies, which know that they will make more profit in richer countries, so they go there first.
The potential change is supported by both non-governmental organizations and human rights activists, who say that it will finally give access to medication to people who have been denied it until now.
The pharmaceutical industry perceives the news differently. It says Europe is already lagging behind the US and China in the research and development of new medicines. The planned amendments are also criticized by Nathalie Moll, the director general at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, who pointed out that the proposed amendments to the legislation will cause enormous damage to the competitiveness of the European pharmaceutical industry.
However, it is not as if all hope is lost for the pharmaceutical industry. There are still two months until the legislative changes are officially forwarded for approval.
It is estimated that more than 290 lobbies of pharmaceutical companies operate in Brussels, making the industry one of the most influential in Europe.
It is clear that changes await the pharmaceutical business. Europe’s population is aging and healthcare costs are expected to inevitably rise. The price of medication makes up a substantial part of it. Controlling prices will be an important part of the long-term solution, or face devastating spending.
Read also: Latvian healthcare representatives suggest limiting exports of medicines