AMR incentives could be next big EU opportunity, pharma boss says

Nathalie Moll, the director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). [EURACTIV.com]

Europe could become the first region worldwide to incentivise the fight anti-microbial resistance (AMR), Nathalie Moll, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), told EURACTIV in an interview.

“I think this is the next big opportunity. There are action plans but no region has developed any legislation to incentivise the development of products that can fight AMR,” Moll said.

The AMR issue has raised eyebrows in Brussels, considering that it is responsible for an estimated 33,000 deaths per year in the EU, with annual costs estimated at €1.5 billion.

“Anti-microbial resistance is clearly a place where there are no incentives, and where the market has failed to produce any antibiotics or solutions,” Moll added.

Following the EU Council conclusions of June 2017, the European Commission adopted the EU One Health Action Plan against AMR. In this plan, the EU executive said there is a need to support research into the development of new economic models.

“New economic models need to be developed to incentivise antimicrobial discovery and development while reconciling these incentives with responsible use,” the Commission said, adding that member states need to actively engage in initiatives and proposals to implement new business models to bring new antibiotics to the market. 

The Romanian EU presidency is preparing Council conclusions to be adopted next month.

EURACTIV was informed that although the need to fight AMR is highlighted, a relevant reference to incentives won’t be heavily featured.

Some things can only be done at EU level

Referring to the post-election period, Moll said it was crucial for the new lawmakers to make the most of the incentives analysis to strengthen the IP framework.

“For a very research-intensive industry like ours, the IP is one of the fundamentals to ensure you get investment because it takes 15 years to produce a product so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get something at the end,” Moll said.

“But if you have intellectual property, there is some guarantee to encourage investors,” she added.

Moll added that the biggest challenge over the next five years would be ensuring stakeholders are working for the patient to ensure quality solutions

“Whatever the elections give us in terms of results, we’re in a transformative moment for health care […] I think that what we expect and hope is that whoever is elected has the same objective for patients”.

She insisted that there are some things that can only be done at the EU level.

“For example, right now, driving the evolution of outcomes-focused healthcare systems, you need to have the same standards for data transfer so as to connect all the different data that comes from patients”, she said.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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