Europe’s pharmaceutical sector is a major contributor to the EU economy. However, potential new therapies are not being fully developed by pharmaceutical corporations. Across Europe, available treatments are not reaching patients quickly enough, and the prices are often not accessible.
It is argued that granting patents and other forms of exclusivity rights to pharmaceutical corporations is necessary to promote R&D for new medical tools. However, developing medicines under a monopoly-based model comes at a high social cost. Exorbitant drug pricing undermines affordable healthcare and erodes the right and access to healthcare for people in Europe and worldwide.
The current system has failed to stimulate real innovation that answers to priority health needs. For example, the research on vaccines, including on coronaviruses and other potentially pandemic agents, remains under-developed.
This STOA study assesses the feasibility of a large European public infrastructure for pharmaceutical and related biomedical innovations, across the entire drug cycle, through research, development, production and distribution. The infrastructure must address market failures that cannot be rectified with existing methods, e.g., market regulatory frameworks, public funding of third party R&D, competition law, and intellectual property protection.