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Contributing Factors to the Growing Gap in Access Between the US and Europe


In this Pharmaceutical Executive video interview, Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, discusses findings from IQVIA's Global Trends in R&D 2024 report that shows why the US continued to lead in new drug launches in 2023.

While the U.S. continues to lead in terms of new drug launches, there's a growing gap in access between the U.S. and Europe. What factors are contributing to this disparity, and what potential solutions can be explored to ensure more equitable access to new medicines?

This is something that we track each year in our report, looking at novel active substances, and how many have been launched, in which parts of the world in the last five years there were 267 novel active substances launched in the US, and that compares to 182 launched in Europe. We also note, importantly, that China launched 192 of these novel active substances in the past five year so actually more than were launched in in the European main other countries, EU four plus the UK is what we look at. We also note that of the new drugs launched in the US in the last five years, there's 113, that have not yet been launched in Europe. So, this is a gap. It's a widening gap between the US and Europe. There's a number of factors going into this.

One is the differences and the regulatory systems in each country, that or in each part of the world that can slow things down. One is the fact that a lot of the new drugs being launched in the US, as we point out in our report have been developed and even registered by emerging biopharma companies. Many of those companies don't have the resources to potentially take those drugs into the European market. In some cases, they choose to wait until they've launched in the US before they decide what the European market access strategy should be. We also know that payers are putting a lot of pressure on new drugs, the health technology assessment, sort of labyrinth that exists in different ways across European countries, you know, is a barrier that companies have to overcome in order to get pay or support for their drugs. And we know that that takes time, it takes money, and that is often being reconsidered relative to the commercial opportunity that those markets may provide the companies.

So, we've been watching this for quite some time. But clearly, the gap has been widening in recent years. And a lot of that is in the oncology space and the rare disease space. These are also the areas where there's been the newest drugs being launched. And those are ones that I think, particularly in Europe, payers have a difficult time getting behind. For one reason or another. Again, every country runs its health system, its own way and makes its own decisions about it, how it allocates resources and the level of that funding. And that all adds up to this growing gap between the US and the major European countries.

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