An ageing population: generics and biosimilars could be the solution

Generics/News | Posted 19/11/2010 post-comment0 Post your comment

On 17 October 2010 the European Generic Medicines Association (EGA) organised an event to discuss patient access to affordable treatments and healthcare sustainability in view of an increasingly ageing population.


The event was organised in the European Parliament under the patronage of the Belgian Presidency, was hosted by Ms Anne Delvaux, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and was attended by around 100 stakeholders, including policymakers and commission representatives.

The EU faces both an ageing population and a falling birth rate. The future consequence of this will be fewer workers paying larger healthcare bills to treat age-related diseases in an increasing number of elderly patients. “This situation will become unsustainable and access to treatments for the elderly will be threatened unless EU health policymakers exploit the advantages offered by generic and biosimilar medicines” said Mr Greg Perry, EGA Director General.

Speaker Professor Steven Simoens from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, said that “savings of an additional Euros 16 billion per annum could be achieved by increasing generic medicines volume in key areas related to the ageing population”.

Today, generic medicines in Europe represent almost half of the pharmaceutical market by volume but account for only 18% of the total cost. Generic medicines already create savings of over Euros 30 billion and newly established biosimilar medicines contribute savings of Euros 1.4 billion per year to European healthcare systems.

The large number of products going off patent in the next decade presents an opportunity for the EU. “However, this requires active governmental policies to increase volume shares of generic medicines” added IMS Health expert Mr Alan Sheppard.

Moreover, the European Commission’s initiative in launching a pharmaceutical sector inquiry in 2008 identified inefficiencies in the pharmaceutical market that create obstacles to rapid access to affordable generic medicines and new innovative products for EU patients. MEP Ms Antonyia Parvanova stated: “these delays have a major negative impact for the sustainability of European healthcare and should be addressed as soon as possible”.

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Source: EGA Press Release

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