Making Europe a life sciences leader

EFPIA’s new board leadership team aims to combat COVID-19 and tackle societal challenges in order to make Europe a life sciences leader, writes Hubertus von Baumbach.
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By Hubertus von Baumbach

Hubertus von Baumbach is President of EFPIA

07 Jul 2021

Europe is facing significant challenges from an ageing population to increased prevalence of chronic disease, and climate change. Breakthrough innovations in biopharmaceutical therapies, the potential of digital enablers and leading technology advances offer the potential solutions to many of the challenges. I firmly believe that our industry is uniquely placed to help improve the health of our citizens as well as driving the region’s economic growth. 

The EU has witnessed an unprecedented human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. But science is turning the tide. As safe and effective vaccines reach a growing number of citizens, we all can begin to reflect on the lessons learned during the crisis, and what is needed to build back better. 



With the new EFPIA Board leadership team, we have committed to working united with all stakeholders across the ecosystem collaboratively to make a meaningful contribution to defeating COVID-19, making Europe a global hub for innovation, and addressing the key societal issues. The pharmaceutical sector is the most R&D intensive industrial sector in Europe, and it can play a vital role in supporting health and economic wellbeing. The industry directly employs some 830,000 people across Europe, has invested €39 billion in R&D, and contributes nearly €122 billion to the EU’s trade balance. At the same time, with over 8,000 medicines in development, we are driving the next waves of scientific innovation that can help transform the lives of patients.

“With the new EFPIA Board leadership team, we have committed to working united with all stakeholders across the ecosystem collaboratively to make a meaningful contribution to defeating COVID-19”

As the EU redefines its relationship with our industry through the Pharmaceutical and Industrial Strategies, now is the time for decisive action to stem the tide of research and development relocating to other regions. We welcome the ambition expressed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to make the EU a leader in life sciences innovation. Realising that ambition means EFPIA and its members working with the EU – the Parliament, the Commission, and Member States to build a standard-setting regulatory system, a strong and predictable Intellectual Property framework, and a next-generation life science ecosystem that serves patients. Thus we, together, must find ways to achieve faster, more equitable access to medicines for patients across Europe. Currently, patients in different Member States wait between 4 months and 2.5 years to get access to the same medicine. 

Working towards the goal of a future EU health and innovation union requires partnership; with patients, clinicians and health systems, regulators, Member States and the EU Institutions. My colleagues and I look forward to engaging with all of these stakeholders in order to play our role in building a healthier future for Europe.

This content was paid for by EFPIA

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Tech & Research Health
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