IPHA Presses to Place Innovation at the Heart of Europe as Elections Draw Near

Posted on March, 28 - 2019

As the campaign begins ahead of the European Parliament elections on May 24th, the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has called on candidates to back progress in biopharmaceutical innovation as the basis for new jobs, investments and therapies in Ireland.

Ireland will elect 13 MEPs - up from 11 following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

By voting, people in Ireland and across the European Union will have a say on the direction the European Parliament and other EU institutions take for the next five years in areas affecting the industry such as access to medicines, innovation, economic growth, research and international trade.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry in Ireland has an important role in the future of Europe. We can help ensure European Union citizens live healthier and longer, and benefit from the economic dividend of investments in new manufacturing and research activity.

European Union citizens can expect to live up to 30 years longer than they did a century ago. Life expectancy for a child born in Ireland today is 80.6 years. A child born in 1925 could expect to live until they were 57.65 years. In less than a century, life expectancy has risen by 23 years. That is down, in part, to major steps forward in biopharmaceutical research, and advances in prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. We have better perinatal care now, too, and infant mortality rates have dropped. Antibiotics have helped to control infectious diseases. 

Close to 30 diseases are preventable by vaccination, with between two and three million deaths avoided globally annually. Cancer death rates have dropped by 20% over the past 20 years.

The research-based pharmaceutical sector industry employs some 750,000 people in the European Union. In Ireland that, figure is close to 30,000.

Bernard Mallee, IPHA’s Director of Communications and Advocacy, said the innovator industry wants to work with the new EU institutions to raise healthcare outcomes and drive economic growth in Ireland and across Europe.

“We must keep moving towards patient-centred and outcomes-focused healthcare systems. It is vital that we improve the pace at which Ireland, and Europe, access breakthrough therapies for unmet health needs. Maintaining and developing Europe’s world class intellectual property system, including the promotion of new incentives for high unmet medical needs such as antimicrobial resistance, is a key step in advancing the innovation environment for new therapies and better jobs. Making Ireland, and Europe, world leaders in clinical research by fostering the adoption of new trial designs supported by digital tools must be a shared goal,” said Mr Mallee.

IPHA, in partnership with the European industry organisation EFPIA, will press to place these issues on the agendas of MEP candidates as we head into a new era for Europe and the European Union institutions.

IPHA’s ‘Manifesto for Better Health’, and EFPIA’s Manifesto, ‘Building a Healthier Future for Europe’, contain policy ideas for improving access to medicines, innovation and partnerships. See more here https://www.ipha.ie/getattachment/Publications-Submissions/IPHA-publications/IPHA-Manifesto-for-Better-Health.pdf.aspx and  https://www.efpia.eu/manifesto/.