Imbalanced Innovation: The High Cost of Europe's "Free Ride"
By keeping pharmaceutical prices and utilization artificially low, Europe is losing more economically than it gains, says consulting group Bain & Co. Here's why-and what the drug industry should do about it
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While the pharmaceutical industry bemoans the European climate, with its pricing and reimbursement challenges and rationing of access to drugs, Novartis' experience with Gleevec shows that with a truly innovative product that clearly addresses an unmet medical need, it's not impossible to do well in Europe.
Echoing other transatlantic rifts, FDA commissioner Mark McClellan argues that America, with its unrestricted drug pricing, is paying Europe's drug R&D bill. Pharma companies agree. European authorities-the only faction with the power to alter pricing policies-don't. But the public disagreement hasn't prevented closer cooperation between the FDA and the EMEA. The agencies' recently announced confidentiality agreement paves the way for better information sharing and could simplify the complex European regulatory arena. But it won't necessarily speed approvals-some drug firms argue that it may even slow them down.