An innovative pharmaceutical industry which meets the needs of society

European CommissionOn the occasion of the Belgian Presidency's ministerial conference on innovation and solidarity in the field of pharmaceuticals, Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani announced the launch of a process on corporate responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry. A distinction is made between three platforms - (1) ethics and transparency (2) access to medicines in Africa and (3) access to medicines in Europe - and will examine the major challenges of access to medicines in Europe and Africa in the light of the issues of price and reimbursement. There are many opportunities for innovative partnerships here, and, for the first time at European level, issues of ethics and transparency in the sector are also to be addressed.

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, said "I attach great importance to corporate social responsibility. In the field of pharmaceuticals it is all the more important for the activities of companies to be in line with the general interest. However, these companies have to operate in a commercial market. I think that it is time to launch a specific consultation at European level in this sector so that commercial imperatives can be combined with the needs of society."

In the light of the contribution that this industry can make to the lives of citizens, it is important to ensure that strategies are in line with the needs of society and that all stakeholders are prepared to take responsibility. The aim is to promote a dynamic exchange between the national authorities, the industry and other public sector and civil society stakeholders.

The pharmaceutical industry makes a huge contribution to economic growth and employment in Europe. The European Union counts more than 4 500 enterprises in this field, employing more than 600 000 people and producing medicines to a value of some € 190 billion.

The process will be divided into three separate platforms: (1) ethics and transparency, (2) access to medicines in Africa and (3) access to medicines in Europe.

  • The objective of the platform on ethics and transparency will be to exchange information and establish a common denominator for good practices.
  • The goal of the platform on access to medicines in Africa is to reflect on the contribution made by European companies, their value-added and the challenges with which they are faced. It goes without saying that this platform will not duplicate the work already performed by other Commission departments or international organisations.
  • The platform on access to medicines in Europe will aim to reinforce collaboration between the Member States and stakeholders in order to explore the non-regulatory conditions for ensuring fair and timely access to medicines following their market authorisation. It will bring together certain specific and innovative initiatives, in particular to facilitate access to innovative treatments after their market authorisation or to help develop a responsible environment for access to medicines. Working in the context of prices and reimbursements, the subsidiarity principle will be fully respected.

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