John Lechleiter on PhRMA and Innovation - Pharmaceutical Executive


John Lechleiter on PhRMA and Innovation

Pharmaceutical Executive

PE: What is the industry contribution to addressing the debt crisis in Europe?

JL: We're paying a certain price already with challenges we have on receivables in certain countries, on arbitrary price cuts, and a more stringent application of cross-border therapeutic reference pricing. Germany has a new system in place for a little more than a year that we believe works against innovation by setting very stringent access controls for new medicines, in some cases comparing new medicines to very old and largely antiquated off-patent drugs. This does nothing to reward innovation. Despite that, given the chance, we can demonstrate that the new medicines that we're producing do add value, and save money in the long term. The evidence is there but it is not always reflected or accepted in the systems of health technology assessment adopted by many European countries, led by Germany and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is rethinking its system, and the goal is to work diligently with the NHS to make sure the United Kingdom remains a place, as it has been, that rewards innovation.

PE: Is there one overriding action that could be done to fix the innovation problem?

JL: There is no magic bullet. We've talked about IP protection: we should have longer data exclusivity guarantees and better enforcement of global standards in other countries. We need regulatory systems that are timely, consistent, predictable, and scientifically based. Opportunity for access and market-based pricing are key incentives as well. There are other things in the constellation: immigration reform is one. It's hard enough for us to hire the best scientists, who may happen to be foreign born and who went to US universities; but then we have to fight to keep them here. Why do we want them to go back to China and compete against us? Or the K-to-12 education system in this country; if it doesn't improve in science and math, it's going to undermine our competitiveness even further. There are primary elements and secondary elements, but I think patent data protection, regulation, market access, and market-based pricing are probably, from a policy domain, the areas that represent the biggest levers, where we will need to continue to do the most work.


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