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Today, through EFPIA, the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe published a series of commitments as part of the global fight against COVID-19.
Commenting on their publication, EFPIA President and CEO of UCB Pharma Jean-Christophe Tellier said “With Europe at the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis, the researched-based pharmaceutical industry is coming together to commit its resources, expertise and people to the fight against COVID-19. That means continuing to donate money and in-kind support to health systems, governments and organisations on the ground. It means pulling out every stop to ensure the safe supply of medicines to the patients that need them and working around the clock to find new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to fight against COVID-19”.
Also commenting on the launch of the commitments, Director General of EFPIA, Nathalie Moll said “In the face of the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis, Europe is coming together in new ways. Our members have been working with health professionals, volunteers and health-systems on the ground, with regulators, Member States and the EU Institutions. The commitments we published today, are our industry’s contribution to that collaborative, collective effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. We won’t rest.”
Access the committments here.
By Sue Middleton, President of Vaccines Europe
Today, the European Commission launched the European Industrial Strategy, an ambitious agenda for the European Union to ensure long-term sustainable growth.
As highlighted in the current European Commission’s political guidelines, “A sustainable Europe is one that opens up opportunities, innovates, creates jobs and offers a competitive edge to its industries.”. The vaccines industry helps Europe to tick all of these boxes and is a strategic sector for the European economy.
Europe has a long history of vaccine discovery, development and manufacturing, and benefits from a strong industrial infrastructure, critical to respond to major public health threats. The vaccines industry is a highly successful global sector and a very significant proportion of its manufacturing, research and development operations are based in Europe. Every year, 1.7 billion vaccines are produced in Europe, which is three quarters of the global vaccine production of Vaccines Europe members. The vaccine industry is a strong innovator and invests 16% of revenues in research and development. This high rate of investment is 50% greater than the software and computer services sectors.
Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective preventive measures existing today and a foundation of public health programmes in Europe and worldwide. It makes a substantial contribution to health, healthcare systems, and society at large.
However, health systems are still built largely on treating illness, as opposed to promoting health. In Europe, spending on prevention is relatively low compared to overall healthcare spending: on average, less than 3% of healthcare spend goes towards prevention, and only 0.5% of EU Member States’ total healthcare budgets is dedicated to immunisation programmes. The number of vaccines that are included in national immunisation schedules differs significantly within Europe, between countries and with regards to vaccination over the lifespan. When it comes to investing in healthcare, we should ask ourselves whether the balance is right, and how spending more on prevention could improve the European economy, as health is a key enabler of a competitive economy.
Maintaining Europe’s lead in such a key sector is critical and requires a long-term vision, a vision towards a well-balanced vaccine ecosystem, which recognises the true value of vaccines for European citizens as well as the strategic economic value of the industry. We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that the European Industrial Strategy helps to advance the competitiveness of the vaccines industry as a key strategic sector for the future and thus supports improving the health of Europe.
 Based on the data provided by Vaccines Europe members in 2019: https://www.vaccineseurope.eu/about-vaccines-europe/vaccines-europe-members/
 Data provided by WifOR Institute is based on the 2018 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/bcbeb233-216c-11ea-95ab-01aa75ed71a1/language-en.
 Gmeinder M; Morgand D;Mueller M (2017). How much do OECD countries spend on prevention? https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/f19e803c-en.pdf?expires=1569405811&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=6744C8AF05558BA46D9F2FB79CEBD486.
 Ethgen et al. (2018): Vaccination Budget in Europe: an update. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2018, Vol. 14, (12), 2911-2915. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2018.1504528
At Vaccines Europe our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Vaccines Europe, part of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), stands in support with the global community and the World Health Organization (WHO) to the current outbreak of COVID-19 acute respiratory disease.
Our industry welcomes the decision taken by the WHO to declare it as a public health emergency of international concern and believes the measures taken reflect the serious nature of this public health threat. Considering the public health and humanitarian implications, we are committed to joining global efforts to care for those affected, contain the outbreak and develop resources to tackle future outbreaks.
As a representative of major innovative research-based vaccine manufacturers in Europe, Vaccines Europe encourages greater exchange of information and dialogue with other stakeholders on how to address this important public health issue. Our members are actively contributing to research efforts to develop potential CoV vaccine candidates,,,,. We believe that greater coordination could reduce inefficiencies, strengthen and accelerate efforts in identifying potential CoV vaccines. The list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates is available here.
Europe’s collaborative research community has responded to global health crises before. Through efforts such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative and other public-private partnerships, we advanced new Ebola vaccine candidates, and diagnostics, and developed new identification and compliance tools. Collaborating in this way has the potential to accelerate development of resources to tackle this outbreak. It enables networks of centres of excellence that can deliver real impact and create a preparedness infrastructure which can be mobilized for future outbreaks.