The pharmaceutical industry faces a vital first semester for growth

1 week ago 12
<?xml encoding="utf-8" ?>

01/07/2022 at 19:13 CET

Eduardo López Alonso

The pharmaceutical industry Spanish hopes that in the first semester of this year the Government will define the main lines of a support plan that will consolidate Spain as world benchmark in clinical trials and strengthen local plant production of essential drugs. A total of 1.7 billion investment is at stake.

The pandemic It has meant a considerable boost in the aspirations of the sector to achieve the status of strategic activity. The investment of the pharmaceutical industry in research and development (R&D) of medicines in Spain in 2020 exceeded 1,160 million euros, the second highest figure in history, after the record set in 2019 with 1,211 million euros. The latest Survey on R&D Activities that Pharmaindustry carried out among its associates every year shows that indicator of good health in a sector now pending that the Government give a free hand to its plans to take advantage of European funds for pharmaceutical growth.

60% of the 1,160 million euros earmarked for drug R&D in 2020 was dedicated to clinical research, that is, more than 697 million euros, of whichs almost half were allocated to phase III trials and 38% to the so-called early phases (phases I and II), the most complicated and expensive of these studies.

The annual report of the Aemps (Spanish medicine agency) estimated at 1,027 clinical trials authorized in 2020, a historic landmark for the country, which underpins the world benchmark position in this area. The current data is even better. As stated by the president of Farmaindustria in an appearance in the Congress of Deputies last September, in Spain there are currently some 3,500 clinical drug trials, in which more than 130,000 patients participate. Pharmaceutical companies based in Spain produce each year worth 15,000 million euros, and in 2020 beat the export volume record with almost 12,800 million euros.

These figures represent almost a quarter of the production and export of Spanish high technology and have made the drug the fourth most exported product, with 5% of total Spanish exports. “These are very significant figures that show that our sector is strategic for the economic and social reactivation of Spain, and it should be so to configure our productive model for the future,” said the president of Farmaindustria, Juan López-Belmonte, in a recent meeting with executives of the sector.

Privileged position

Spain, thanks to its efficient public health system, has achieved a privileged international position in the area of ​​clinical trials, hand in hand with the main hospitals. Pharmaceutical companies require the testing of new drugs with scientific rigor as the basis of their future strategies and they are key to their business models. The Farmaindustria employers’ association has reiterated in recent years that they see in this field “a clear opportunity to attract international investment to the Spanish health system and also a way of providing solutions to serious patients with cutting-edge treatments. “A study by the Elcano Royal Institute pointed out in 2020 that the pharmaceutical is one of the sectors that in Spain can attract greater international investment in research, an area in which the pharmaceutical industry invests more than 150,000 million euros in the world each year.

Support plan

The other leg of the proposals of the pharmaceutical companies to the Government is a plan to support industries. The 82 drug production plants in Spain avoided shortages of essential drugs during the toughest months of the pandemic and they now intend to consolidate their role in this area. The sector awaits a response from the Government after presenting a specific initiative in this area, the project Essential Medicines and Strategic Industrial Capacities for the value chain of the Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry in Spain (MedEst). The project has managed to involve 40 companies from Farmaindustria, generics and active ingredients for, on the one hand, increase strategic manufacturing capacities and thus have greater guarantees in the supply of medicines strategies and, on the other, improve the productive competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry in Spain through its training in knowledge, technology and digitization. The planned investment would be about 1,700 million euros.

The Spanish pharmaceutical lobby advocates strengthening close cooperation between the Administration, public and private hospitals, health professionals, patients and pharmaceutical companies. Clinical research went from 460 million euros in 2010 to 697 million in 2020. And 46% of that investment is channeled to public and private hospitals, outside the strict scope of pharmaceutical companies. Madrid and Barcelona concentrate around 60% of the investments and Farmaindustria proposes that clinical research be opened to hospitals in other Autonomous Communities.

Research ecosystem

The Government has set for the first semester of 2022 the approval of the Strategic Plan for the Pharmaceutical Industry at the national level. This strategic plan, in addition to coinciding with the pillars of the EU pharmaceutical strategy, will be based on four axes. The fostering a pharmacological research ecosystem; the drug repositioning; contribution to creation of qualified employment and strengthening the production and supply chain to bypass Asian dependencies. The companies in the sector demand that these productive investments be based on stable program contracts, which ensure future income after the investments made.

The levers of growth

The dream of pharmaceutical companies is to be able to develop the main lines of the future of the sector hand in hand with public health. The digital transformation has defined three levers for the growth of the sector: precision medicine (Once the genetic or personal risks of each patient are known, adapt the therapeutic or preventive measures); the use of real life data; and the measurement of health outcomes of health interventions and their associated costs, which makes it possible to direct investment towards the most efficient procedures and technologies that provide the most value to the patient. Given that developing a new drug requires an average of 10 years, the pharmaceutical sector urges to define a sustained strategy over time, with continuous investment over time in biomedical R&D; tax aid for innovation; defense of industrial property; and that new treatments reach patients quickly.

Read Entire Article