Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen has announced a new strategy for the pharmaceutical industry aimed at closing the gap with the US on innovation and research and development.
In a speech to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Association (EFPIA), on 1 June 2005, Verheugen regretted that in recent years Europe had fallen behind the US in the production of new medicines. His new strategy, he said, was aimed at ensuring that Europe once more becomes "the natural home for pharmaceutical innovation".
The Commission’s strategy focuses on three areas:
Innovation: to complement existing new opportunities within the 7th Research Framework Programme, there will be a €2.6 billion entrepreneurship and innovation programme which will give help to SMEs at the forefront of the biotechnology sector.
Enhancing competitiveness: the Commission will aim to give industry more flexibility in setting prices by examining price controls on drugs outside the state sector, parallel trade and speed of access to the market.
Improving patient information and safety: the Commission will carry out a review of the controls on the safety of medicines at national and EU level. It will establish a public-private partnership to improve the level and quality of information provided to the public.