The CEO of GlaxoSmithKline has said that governments and the pharmaceutical industry need
to start talking to each other to improve innovation and affordability across the sector.

In his first speech as president of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Andrew Witty stressed the need to make medicines more affordable and to encourage the development of drugs and vaccines for unmet medical needs.

“Many countries in Europe are facing significant pressures in healthcare policy, which have been compounded by the financial crisis,” he said.

“We need a new dialogue between industry and governments to address the difficult questions facing us all, on access, on affordability and on innovation.”

To achieve this, the GSK chief said a “common, shared understanding of value” was critical to both industry and governments, and called for a better dialogue prior to and after marketing authorisation.

At present, new drugs within the EU are first approved by the European Medicines Agency, after which organisations within each country make the final authorisation decisions – a process which has been described as unnecessarily lengthy and convoluted.

During his speech the EFPIA president also called for greater consideration of patients in decision making, stressing that patients must be at the heart of the process.