European health policy of the future: the best is yet to come!

A healthy population is essential for a robust economy and social cohesion in Europe. The future of EU policy should prioritize patient-centered healthcare systems, smart industrial policies, and an environment conducive to innovation.

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Strengthening the European economy and fostering societal cohesion significantly depends on maintaining a healthy population. Indeed, 70 percent of EU citizens desire increased efforts in the health sector. Therefore, ensuring that all citizens lead healthier lives must be a paramount priority for European policy in the coming years and decades. Patient-centered healthcare systems, intelligent industrial policies, and an innovation-friendly environment should be the guiding principles for this approach.

The health of EU citizens is a collective responsibility shared by patient groups, policymakers, health professionals, civil society, and industry. By combining our resources and expertise, we can ensure that our efforts yield tangible benefits for EU citizens and elevate the EU's global reputation for excellence in research, development, and innovation.

Research - The Most Effective Medicine for Europe

Thanks to breakthroughs in biopharmaceutical research and advancements in preventive measures and infection control—including vaccination, screening, diagnosis, and treatment—EU citizens now enjoy life expectancies up to 30 years longer than a century ago. Over the past 20 years, the cancer mortality rate alone has decreased by 20 percent.

Europe's innovative pharmaceutical industry, bolstered by these medical successes, has become a significant economic pillar, contributing 136 billion EUR annually to the EU trade surplus. It is the leading innovative sector, employing 840,000 people across Europe and investing a higher percentage of its annual turnover, 42 billion EUR, in research and development than any other high-tech sector.

An innovative environment for the research-based pharmaceutical industry ensures European patients access to clinical trials, preventive measures, and treatment advances. This environment also holds significant geopolitical importance. Events such as the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic have underscored the dangers of excessive foreign trade dependencies.

In turbulent times, a long-term strategy is essential, especially as the US and China offer attractive markets with subsidies, efficient bureaucratic processes, and lower energy prices. Europe is competing with these strong players who have actively invested in building a thriving biopharmaceutical research and development landscape over the last two decades. While Europe need not fear this competition, it should not assume automatic leadership in all areas. This requires policies that understand current challenges and have the courage and means to address them. We are convinced that Europe can rise to the occasion. In other words, the best is yet to come!

Competitiveness, predictability, and resilience are crucial for strengthening Europe as an innovative pharmaceutical hub. Research-based pharmaceutical manufacturers need the certainty that their high-risk investments in cutting-edge research will be supported within a reliable framework.