How to recover European leadership in health innovation

Padraic Ward, Head of Pharma International at Roche, talks about his vision for healthcare and the opportunities and challenges for Europe.

Our vision Europe’s historical position as a leader in healthcare innovation is under threat (as seen in the November 2022 report from EFPIA1). Our policies, our systems, our ways of thinking and working together, have been undermining our leadership over time. Patients are already feeling the consequences as outcomes in areas where some of the greatest scientific and medical breakthroughs have taken place, like cancer, are falling behind the US.

It’s not too late to make course corrections but we do need to act soon. And the good news is that we already have many of the tools needed to fix the problem.

  • We need some regulatory reform. But with the review of Europe’s pharma strategy, regulatory reform is on the table.

  • We need a way of evaluating medicines and accelerating access in the EU. We already have the EU HTA legislation, a number of proposals from EFPIA, and the ongoing initiative from WHO Europe to create a multi stakeholder platform on access to innovative medicines.

  • We need systems that enable us to truly evaluate the impact of healthcare interventions on patient outcomes. And we already have proposals on the European Health Data Space - a game changer and potentially a significant competitive advantage because health data is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools to enable more targeted, more efficient provision of healthcare for patients, more sustainably.

But none of these things are answers on their own. We must recognise that both the public and the private sector have a role to play, and that we need solutions that are beneficial to all. Because it is the fact they are beneficial to all that will make them sustainable.

To do this my invitation is for us to have an open conversation about the opportunities on the horizon, and to build a more mutual understanding of what is needed to make the most of it in Europe. Specifically I’d like to have a genuine conversation about the day-to-day pressures faced by those who are running healthcare systems, and am happy to share the concerns and the needs that we have, as an industrial healthcare partner, to help serve on that basis.

We stand ready to join with others. Ready to learn, to listen - all to help us make Europe stronger, more competitive, and most importantly healthier.



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