As the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the voice of the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe, begins its annual meeting in Brussels, President Andrew Witty and Director-General Richard Bergström pledged to continue listening to patients, customers and other stakeholders and work in partnership with them to find solutions to the challenges facing Europe.
Andrew Witty said: “Since becoming President I have ensured that EFPIA listens to its stakeholders and works harder to meet their expectations. We have seen important changes: We have agreed a Leadership Statement to ensure that we act ethically and established a Trust Committee to place building trust at the heart of EFPIA activities. We are engaging constructively in the Joint Action on HTAs; playing a leading part in the Active and Healthy Ageing Innovation Partnership (AHAIP); working constructively on promoting patent reform; and seeking ways forward on the development of new antibiotics. These and other actions reflect the way that EFPIA is changing.”
Just a few days ago, the EU Council of Ministers reached conclusions that explicitly address the need to rethink healthcare strategy and related investment in Europe. They emphasised the need to create modern, responsive, efficient, effective and financially sustainable health systems that provide equitable access to health services for all. They stated that investments in health should be acknowledged as a contributor to economic growth, but recognised that economic and other resources are scarce.
These are welcome comments. It is important now that EFPIA and the industry work closely with the authorities in Brussels and across the Member States to address these issues.
The valuable innovation that the pharmaceutical industry delivers can make a major contribution to the health of European citizens and the efficiency of European healthcare systems. However, this is a time of significant financial challenge for Member States, and we recognise that EFPIA and its members must work with Member States to help them respond. The key is to avoid actions that have unintended consequences – too strong a focus on cost, rather than value, will undermine valuable innovation and therefore reduce patient benefit.
EFPIA members have shown their commitment to work with governments to bridge funding gaps and we invite any government to talk to us about their needs. EFPIA is committed to finding solutions that work short-term without having international knock-on effects and without hurting valuable innovation.
Richard Bergström said: “The future for Europe´s patients looks brighter than ever. Breakthrough innovation in the way we understand biology and how the human body works has resulted in a bigger pipeline of medicines than ever before. Yet, there are significant challenges in delivering these to patients and in an equitable way.”
“Our corporate leaders and national member associations meet to reconfirm their commitment to work with European Union institutions and member state governments to find solutions to society’s needs today and tomorrow. We will continue to listen to our stakeholders and respond to their needs. There is a very important agenda on which all stakeholders need to work, on such issues as healthy ageing, meeting unmet medical need, measuring and rewarding the value of new medicines, and more effective prevention strategies. Improved use of medicines, creative financing and smarter delivery of care is needed to balance the triple objectives of patient access, support for valuable innovation, and sustainable budget. New thinking, new mindsets and new partnerships will be essential,” added Bergström.