A new EU industrial strategy would drive health and growth

Written by Nathalie Moll on 5 November 2019 in Thought Leader
Thought Leader

Europe must play to its strengths and pharma is an area of strategic economic and social value where the EU is a global player, writes EFPIA's Nathalie Moll.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Europe faces challenges that demand decisive action to safeguard the sustainability of our health and social care, of our economies and the environment.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries & Associations (EFPIA) believes that by revamping industrial policy we can unlock Europe’s enormous potential.

As stated in European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s mission letter, her team will work on a new long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial sector to “maximise the contribution of investment in research and innovation in supporting our policy objectives”.

A new EU industrial strategy would reinvigorate our economies and help us cope with ageing populations and rising rates of chronic illness, and the pharmaceutical sector can play a central part in this.


Its role as a driver of economic growth and its positive impact on public health make it a strategically important industry.

Pharmaceutical companies can be engines of innovation, growth and competitiveness, but they need the right policy framework to deliver on their potential.

In particular, a predictable regulatory environment and the right mix of incentives.

The pharmaceutical sector supports around 2.5 million jobs, directly contributing nearly €100bn to the EU economy, along with a further €106bn through the supply chain and employee spending.

Sustaining this is vital to Europe’s future and cannot be taken for granted. We are competing with other markets for talent and investment.

With other global economies creating pro-innovation environments, the EU cannot afford to stand still.

To help drive this conversation forward, we have published a set of proposals designed to maintain Europe’s competitive edge.

"Europe must play to its strengths. Pharma is an area of strategic economic and social value where the EU is a global player"

‘Driving Health & Growth: A call for an industrial strategy’ highlights five areas where policymakers can help us do this: maintain a world-class system for the approval of new treatments; enact better innovation policies so Europe can lead in research and development; create a digital Europe that supports patients in their healthcare journey; develop a smart trade agenda that drives EU competitiveness and access; and back policies that preserve the environment.

Europe must play to its strengths. Pharma is an area of strategic economic and social value where the EU is a global player.

Europe has a history as a world leader in medical innovation, and, in the face of competition from other global economies, we have to work together to strengthen our position.

Biopharmaceuticals are an area of strategic economic and social value where the EU can truly claim to be a global player.

For example, more than 80 percent of vaccine doses produced by R&D driven companies are produced in Europe.

This should inspire the next European Commission, as well as Member States, to craft a forward-looking strategy that builds on our strong foundation.

Not only would this help generate employment opportunities and economic growth, it would be a catalyst for a sector that delivers innovative new treatments that help citizens to live healthier lives.

A new industrial strategy for Europe is a win-win for our economies and for our health.

About the author

Nathalie Moll is Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries & Associations (EFPIA)

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