Pfizer Chief Says Some European Countries 'Freeloading' Off Others

Pfizer said Europe is undermining drug innovation by cutting prices, raising barriers to new medicines and “freeloading” off others in Asia and the U.S. who’re willing to pay, according to a Reuters report.

Chief executive Ian Read told Reuters on Monday that European governments are sacrificing the long-term future of science in their countries with regard to short-term budget cuts.

The report said the chief executive from the world’s largest drugmaker claims there’s a disconnect in Europe between your marketplace for pharmaceuticals and the need for European governments to have innovation and research.

Read said governments in Europe which are becoming increasing reluctanct to pay for up for innovative therapies would eventually be sorry.

He said the pharmaceutical industry is a high-risk business, and European leaders are sacrificing the long term for a while.

He used Germany for example when speaking to Reuters, using Berlin’s recent decision to increase drug price freezes from 2010 and also to use a basket of nations like Poland and Greece as a benchmark based on how much it will pay for drugs.

Read said they are saying that “purchase of innovation reaches an amount that Greek prices can support.”

“That’s not a recipe to create a cutting-edge industry that can compete around the world stage,” he told Reuters.

He said since Germany is one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, he questioned whether referencing its prices to Greek or Polish levels would offer drug makers a good return.

“These are the questions I’d like politicians to check out inside a fundamental way,” he explained. “The risk of freeloading is so great in an industry with sunk costs.”

He told Reuters he would like to see governments going for a longer-term view and interesting on the issue of who should purchase the study and development costs of those new modern medicines.

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