Following growing concern about the sustainability of healthcare systems, in the summer of 2016 EU Health Ministers invited the European Commission (EC) to undertake a review of the Intellectual Property (IP) incentives that underpin biomedical innovation.
This document is a joint statement by a coalition of like-minded think tanks, civil society groups and academics who believe that Europe’s future prosperity is best secured through open markets and strong respect for property rights (including intellectual property rights), underpinned by the rule of law.
Our statement makes two key points.
First, innovation is of paramount importance to Europe’s future economic growth, and by extension, living standards. Yet EU member states underspend on Research and Development (R&D) and are outperformed on a host of innovation measures by peer nations such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia, according to the 2017 European Innovation Scorecard. The incentives review must therefore focus on boosting EU innovation.
Second, European societies are ageing and there is an urgent need for new technological solutions to mitigate the economic and fiscal effects. In particular, there is a growing need for new medicines against diseases that are prevalent among older people, such as neurological conditions and cancer. European companies are making some progress, but research into these diseases is complex, financially risky and extremely slow moving. The EC’s review must therefore preserve the delicate innovation ecosystem that underpins continued private sector investment into these diseases.