Pharmaceutical Industry Is Unappreciated By Society

Bayer’s chief executive, Marijn Dekkers (pictured), has expressed concern around the pricing squeeze being placed on innovative pharmaceutical groups, whose efforts, he believes, are greatly under-appreciated by society.

Speaking at Bayer’s annual press conference in Leverkusen, Dr Dekkers commented that it is “crucial to have an environment that views innovation as something desirable and values it accordingly”.

Dekkers acknowledged that governments worldwide are under pressure to decrease expenditures but voiced to PharmaTimes World News that worldwide governments’ current approach is “we have to save, quick, quick” and as a result, there is a sense of panic pervading responses to the problem.

Dr Dekkers added that Bayer will “contribute to the development of cost-effective solutions…but it’s important to keep a sense of proportion”, adding that “the money we earn from today’s medicines pays for the development of tomorrow’s medicines.”  He gave the example of Bayer’s new anticoagulant Xarelto (rivaroxaban) which has cost Bayer and Johnson & Johnson approximately 2 billion euros to research and develop.

However, if the revenues from existing drugs are too sharply reduced, “the medium-term effect may be that research-based pharmaceutical companies will lack the resources they need to develop medicines in the future”.

Dekkers added that one of the fundamental problems is society’s “general lack of appreciation for innovations.”  If a patient has a serious illness and is doing better following treatment with a drug, “he will obviously thank his doctor and maybe praise the hospital too.”  However, “it rarely occurs to anyone to thank the inventor and manufacturer of the medicine”.

Dr Dekkers added that most patients have no idea who makes the drugs, “although it was that company that took the considerable financial risk and invested the substantial amount of time and resources necessary to enable the doctor and the hospital to help the patient at all”.


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