Tuesday, January 18

German pharmaceutical industry expects 8% more sales in 2022

The success and strong demand for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine from the German laboratory Biontech and its US partner Pfizer has boosted the pharmaceutical industry in Germany, which by 2022 expects a sales increase of 8%.

As announced by the Association of Research Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA, for its acronym in German), an increase in production is also expected by 3.0% and an increase in employment by the same percentage (3.0%). The association expects to have 122,000 employees by the end of next year.

The German pharmaceutical industry is proving extremely robust in the crisis. Therefore, it is a decisive factor for economic growth, ”VFA President Han Steutel told DPA.

According to Steutel, the fact that a German laboratory developed the first coronavirus vaccine approved worldwide had direct and indirect positive consequences for the local pharmaceutical industry, which has already seen a strong rebound this year.

“Not only did the production of German companies increase, but foreign corporations such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson also increased their production here,” he stressed, adding that the success of Biontech’s vaccines represent a great opportunity.

The VFA expects sales to increase 13% in 2021 and production 5%. The association represents 45 companies with about 92,000 employees.

In Germany 13 companies are involved in the production of the vaccine for Biontech and Pfizer. The VFA calculated that 0.5 percentage points of the 2.7% of the growth of the German economy for 2021 predicted by the group of experts that advises the Government on economic matters will correspond to the contribution of Biontech.

Steutel stressed that, to achieve greater competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry, Germany must improve in terms of reducing bureaucracy, digitization and clinical research.

Authorizations take too long, among other reasons, because data protection is a particularly sensitive issue in the country.

The authorities were quick with the COVID-19 vaccines, showing that things can be done more quickly in other areas, ”said Steutel.

According to the president of the VFA, when it is necessary to carry out clinical studies with patients for drug research, the approval of the affected federal states is currently required and that, in the worst case, may mean the authorization of 16 regional governments .

“There is no central office,” he claims and gives as an example that while in other European countries it takes 100 days to obtain approval for a clinical trial, in Germany it takes 200.

While the country has a good reputation for research, Steutel cautions that, in terms of the number of clinical trials, not only the United States (US) and China are ahead of the local pharmaceutical industry, but also have been surpassed by Spain and the United Kingdom. “That has to be a red flag for us,” he emphasized.

Steutel also sees the need to catch up on cooperation between researchers, clinics and universities. It maintains that there are gaps in digitization and problems in data exchange.

Pharmaceutical companies cannot access electronic patient data, which is possible anywhere in the world. This is not good for our reputation ”, he highlights.

According to the expert, the pressure for the pharmaceutical industry comes from China, which is strong in patent applications and fast in clinical research with large groups of patients.

The VFA requires the new German government not to intervene more strongly in drug prices. The “semaphore” coalition that includes the Social Democratic Party (SPD, for its initials in German), the Greens and the Liberal Party (FDP, for its initials in German) wants to reduce the period to determine the price of medicines to six months.

Until now, the laboratories could regulate the price for a year and before the Federal Joint Committee makes an assessment for the negotiations between the companies and the health funds.

Reducing it to six months would only save 50 million euros, but it would harm the capacity for innovation ”, criticized Steutel.

The pharmaceutical sector is not one of the big industries in Germany, but it does have a high added value. The recent annual turnover was 47.2 billion euros ($ 53.4 billion) and most of the drugs were exported.

According to the VFA, with an expenditure of 7.8 billion euros for research and development, the pharmaceutical industry is the strongest research sector in Germany.

In the opinion of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the COVID-19 pandemic offers good prospects. The entity’s president, Christian Kullmann, recently said that COVID-19 was the opportunity for Germany, as a place of business, to once again be the world’s pharmacy.

That is why the pharmaceutical industry demanded that politicians learn from the lessons of the pandemic. “The COVID-19 crisis must lead to a political rethinking and the adoption of measures in the pharmaceutical sector,” declared at the end of November Hans-Georg Feldmeier, president of the German Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI, for its acronym in German).



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