Does TTIP offer benefits for both the health and wealth of Europe?

Today is Europe Day, and on this occasion EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström is back home in Sweden for the high-level Europadagen 2015 conference. On the table for debate are the issues of EU and international trade, mobility in Europe and climate and the environmental. The programme includes Lilly’s Rick Ascroft, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs and Market Access Australia, Canada, Europe speaking on a panel dedicated to TTIP. On the panel alongside Rick were MEP Christofer Fjellner, Chief Economist Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, and Peter Chase from the US Chambers of Commerce.

In talking about the opportunity TTIP represents for Europe, Rick didn’t start with the opportunity for growth. He began with another topic… dementia. Dementia is one of the greatest global health challenges of our time, affecting more than 44 million people worldwide and set to nearly double by 2030.¹  In 2010, the cost of dementia was over 500 million USD – 70% spent in Europe and North America.² While billions have been spent on R&D, still Alzheimer’s is the only ‘top 10’ disease that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured.³

Some people might have thought that he came to the wrong conference, but from our standpoint, this is what TTIP is about – how can an agreement reduce barriers to getting new medicines to patients quicker. Lilly had the chance to participate in the G7 Dementia Legacy event last year – and three areas were highlighted as critical to speeding new treatments to patients: regulatory harmonization, creating greater incentives through intellectual property protections and finding pathways to ensure appropriate reward for new discoveries.  These are precisely the three areas we hope to see improved under a robust TTIP.

TTIP also presents opportunities for the role Lilly and the pharmaceutical sector plays in not only the health but the wealth of Europeans. Lilly has a significant economic footprint in Europe: 9,000 of our 38,000 worldwide employees work here in Europe and over the last decade, we have invested over 1 billion euros in our manufacturing sites and our annual investment in R&D now exceeds 450 million euros.  If we look more broadly to Europe, the sector far outranks any other in terms of R&D investing, as a percentage of sales, and the sector ranks first in terms of value added employment.  TTIP can support our sector by reducing duplication and identifying areas for harmonization between the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration. In the key area of Intellectual Property Protection, TTIP provides an opportunity to enshrine the highest IP standards for future agreements. Finally, on market access, TTIP can ensure that the process for reimbursing medicines is clear, predictable and timely. It costs more than 1 billion euros to bring a medicine to market - pricing and reimbursement systems that recognize and reward innovation and make decisions in a timely fashion are essential for the innovation ecosystem to function.

To conclude, Lilly is firmly committed to TTIP.  We are taking leadership roles within our industry and in the business community, speaking at events like Europadagen and communicating to our customers, vendors, and employees about the benefits of TTIP.

¹ Alzheimer’s Disease International
² Alzheimer’s Disease International
³ Alzheimer’s Association