Euro folly on drug pipelines

The European Union is investigating “potentially anticompetitive practices” in the European drug market, according to the Wall Street Journal (EU Probes Pharmaceutical Industry on Dwindling New Patents, Drugs). The EU is apparently concerned about the reduction of new product launches and thinks it might be because companies are colluding to hold back new products!

Talk about adding insult to injury.

The reason new products aren’t being launched is because the products are failing in pre-clinical and clinical development. The easy targets have generally been hit, and pharma is in a period of diminishing returns on R&D investment. New discovery and development approaches are needed to reverse the trend. The investigators are engaging in wishful thinking if they think their efforts will boost product launches.

I won’t be surprised though if the EU finds something it doesn’t like. They’ve spoken of companies “misuing” patent laws to block competition. I don’t know how you misuse a law –sounds like the law itself needs to be rewritten if that’s the case.

January 16, 2008

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