Today, the Belgian pharmaceutical industry is one of the spearheads and powerhouses of our economy. It accounts for 34,155 direct jobs1> and 11.2% of exports2, and is the second largest exporter of medicines in the world3. The industry occupies a leading position in Europe.
Our potential economic growth is determined by our present capacity to innovate and find solutions to diverse complaints, which have a big impact on the affordability of healthcare. Think of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, for instance.
The increasing challenges and complexity which our sector is experiencing mean that it is becoming harder and more of a challenge to innovate and maintain affordable innovation. The government has just given a vitally important signal and is stimulating the innovative capacity of our sector in an unprecedented manner.
The new Pact for the Future (link) initiated by Maggie De Block, minister for Social Affairs and Public Health, gives us, as a risky sector, a stable, predictable, and reliable budgetary framework within which we can better plan our research and development on the new generation of drugs. It is important for this country to continue to invest in the development of new drugs and healthcare, and it is important for patients to be given access to new innovations as soon as possible.
The Pact for the Future is a unique package of agreements in Europe and stresses a sustainable patient-oriented drug policy, cheaper drugs, and faster reimbursement procedures. This will mean that new products can come onto the market faster and, at the same time, it provides scope to finance important new innovation.
It is a pact which also requires financial efforts on our part to promote affordable healthcare. However, the price of some drugs has fallen, so there is now scope in the government budget to finance new drugs.
We’re delighted with the strong consultation and commitment of the government and the minister’s strong vision on sustainable healthcare. The government has taken some brave measures with a strong framework in which various players can help to promote healthcare and the innovative strength of the industry. We will convert this change into value.
1 Farmacijfers 2014 Pharma.be
2 Farmacijfers 2014 Pharma.be
3 Farmacijfers 2014 Pharma.be