Increasing calls in EU for new models of medical innovation

29 November 2010 – The recent price cuts of patented medicines by various European
governments and the growing burden of medicines on national healthcare budgets make it
clear that the current model for biomedical innovation is unsustainable, both for developing
countries and for EU Member States. The intellectual property (IP) and monopoly based
business model carries with it perverse incentives that encourage overzealous defenses of
high prices and abusive marketing practices, and rarely brings us needs-driven innovation.
The EU Council Conclusions on the EU role in Global Health and the EU Innovation Union
2020 Strategy give the EU and its Member States a clear mandate to explore new innovation
models that de-link (dissociate) the cost of research and development from the prices of
As a first step, on 18 November 2010, EU policy makers, experts, industry, civil society and
patient representatives came together to discuss new models of biomedical innovation and
to formulate specific policy recommendations for the EU. The proposals that were discussed
included Product Development Partnerships, the Medicines Patent Pool, equitable licensing
and innovation inducement prizes for a variety of diseases, including cancer, HIV/AIDS and
There is now a window of opportunity to take this forward in the EU. The Innovation and
Access approach should be clearly integrated into the Action Plan on Global Health and
made immediately operative in the EU ?s new Innovation Union. Furthermore, in the
negotiations for Framework Programme 8, which sets the priorities for European research,
the European Commission is encouraged to integrate equitable licensing, to foresee
increased budget allocation for innovation inducement prizes and to make sustainable
funding more accessible for Product Development Partnerships. The EU should also
encourage pharmaceutical companies to license their patents to the Medicines Patent Pool.
After years of discussion on the problems of the current model, patients in both the
developed and the developing world are ready and eager to see some action. The European
Commission has the mandate and the knowledge, now it needs to take the next necessary
steps to turn these commitments into realities.
The 18 November discussion was organised by Eva Joly MEP (The Greens/EFA), Thijs
Berman MEP (Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats) and Carl Schlyter MEP (The
Greens /EFA) on behalf of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access
to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases. With the Support of TransAtlantic Consumer
Dialogue (TACD), Health Action International (HAI) Europe, Knowledge Ecology
International (KEI), and Oxfam.
For more information, please contact:
David Hammerstein (TACD):
Sophie Bloemen (HAI Europe):
Judit Rius Sanjuan (KEI):
Katrien Vervoort (Oxfam):