The EC Pharmaceutical Inquiry: Behind the Headlines, What is the Real Story on Innovation and Generic Competition in Pharmaceuticals?

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Thomas Cueni, Nov 12, 2008

While the pharmaceutical sector waits for the European Commission’s interim report and hearing scheduled for November 28, 2008, there is an opportunity to step back and examine critically the premise of the inquiry started infamously with dawn raids on January 16, 2008 that, as Commissioner Kroes announced, “if innovative products are not being produced, and cheaper generic alternatives delayed, then we need to find out why and, if necessary, take action.”… Taking a step back, then, from the furor surrounding the dawn raids and the hugely intrusive information gathering, policy makers and regulators must look at the bigger picture. There is an important story behind the headlines. The productivity decline in innovative pharmaceuticals should be of genuine concern. The chilling effect of excessive and distorting price and access controls must be addressed if innovators are to receive the right buying signals from state purchasers to reinvigorate productivity.