Discovery on Both Sides of the Atlantic

#EP2014 - 93 days to go

The events making 2014 the Year of Change for Europe are fast approaching: we are now less than 100 days away from the European elections. At Lilly, we kicked off the countdown with a blog on our vision for #HealthandGrowth last week. Over the remaining weeks leading up to the European elections we will be running a series of blogs aimed at the new parliamentary intake. In the series we will build the case for a more ambitious and integrated life science strategy in the EU that sets clear priorities for policy-makers, industry and others working in the healthcare sector. We believe this will not only deliver better health outcomes for European citizens, but also support financially sustainable healthcare systems, and achieve economic growth in Europe. 

Globe hands2Greater strides can be achieved together. The negotiations currently ongoing between the EU and the US on transatlantic trade, are a great example of joining efforts in breaking down barriers and in setting ambitious standards, for instance in the field of regulatory harmonisation. Three negotiation rounds have taken place thus far, and this week leaders from both Washington, DC, and Brussels gather to take stock of the progress made. If the three first rounds focused on setting out the scope, and agreeing the overall direction of travel, we can expect round four and subsequent discussions to dive into more of the technical details of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

From our perspective, and for a biopharmaceutical industry to flourish and continue developing innovative medicines meeting unmet medical need, we have identified a few priority areas:

  1. Regulatory Harmonisation. A very practical example can be mutual recognition of inspections on Good Manufacturing Practices to avoid duplicate inspections by both the FDA (US) and the EMA (Europe). European Trade Association EFPIA has found at least 141 duplicate site inspections have taken place since 2010. 
  2. Align high standards for IP and patent enforcement system. Increased predictability over enforcement in Europe is more conducive to an innovative environment.
  3. Market Access. Pricing and reimbursement systems reflecting the full range of the value that biopharmaceutical medicines can bring to patients and society at large, such as allowing patients or caregivers to return to work, and impact on the wider health care system efficiency. Market access is critical for ensuring patients rapidly gain access to new treatments, and to allow the industry to maintain and grow direct and indirect employment.

Here at Lilly, we work hard to develop innovative treatments for people all over the world. Different rules apply in the various countries across the globe. Dealing with so many variable standards for regulation, market access and IP simply hinders our ability to bring affordable, high-quality medicines to the people. In TTIP, we find one of our best opportunities to address these challenges.

Negotiation Round IV is set to take place from 10-14 March. We will be closely following the developments, so watch this space.

You can follow the discussions online via #TTIP and #EUTrade.