On Wednesday 11 July, at the Press Club Brussels Europe, at the heart of the EU district in Brussels, European Voice will organise a lunchtime briefing to discuss the relative roles of the private and public sectors in healthcare innovation and the pros and cons of outsourcing R&D efforts. The event will feature Bernard Munos, a healthcare innovation specialist, Prof. Daan Crommelin from Utrecht University, Jos Peeters from Capricorn Venture Partners and a senior policymaker from the EU institutions.
The healthcare sector is facing severe challenges. Investing in research and development is becoming more difficult as the costs of bringing new medicines to market have risen while the income stream from newly approved products is limited or is running down as patents expire. With the economic crisis continuing, governments are seeking to cap expenditure on healthcare and drive down the costs of medicines and treatments. This downward pressure on spending is affecting the returns drugs companies can expect on their products.
Rising expectations and upwards pressures on spending
At the same time, the increase in the average age of the population in most EU member states and the rising expectations of patients to have the latest medicines and treatments mean that there is upwards pressure on healthcare spending. The healthcare sector needs to develop medicines and treatments to deal an evolving landscape in which diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's are increasingly common.
These combined challenges have forced companies and policymakers to devise new ways to fund research activities. Some industry voices argue that the large pharmaceutical companies should outsource their R&D activities to small firms specialised in innovation. Schemes such as the European Union's Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a collaboration involving the EU's R&D funding programme and the private sector, are held up as a model for public-private partnerships. Some pharmaceutical companies are entering partnerships with private equity firms to finance their R&D activities.
Do these approaches work? Can and should they be generalised? What should each sector focus on to address the specific challenges it faces? Where should they come together? These are some of the questions that European Voice invites you to address and debate on 11 July.