EU Launches Pharma Strategy, Raising Both Hopes and Questions

The public’s response has been cautious after the European Union unveiled a pharmaceutical strategy last week designed to spur domestic innovation and the production of affordable, state-of-the-art therapies.

Amid a boom in biotech funding driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission (EC) is scrambling to bring its sometimes fragmented pharma regulatory framework up to date, experts say.

This move was prompted by major challenges in the European healthcare sector. For example, the aging population faces a bigger burden of chronic diseases as well as pandemic threats like Covid-19. EU member states differ in how they apply patents, which can hamper biotech innovation. Additionally, the EU’s medicines supply chain — dependent on foreign countries such as China — is often environmentally unsustainable and vulnerable to disruption.

On the face of it, the document adopted by the EC is meant to streamline the full pharmaceutical cycle, starting with research and development and intellectual property regulations, all the way to the marketing of medicines. The strategy is also designed to implement lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis response, boost competition, address rare diseases, and ensure “a strong EU voice in the world.” 

By and large, scientists, investors, and industry groups welcome it, though many say it’s too broad at this stage to gauge its full impact.

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Published on Fri, 04 Dec 2020 10:28:06 +0000 and brought to you by nintex array contains string