EGA pushes for increased focus on generics and biosimilars

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EGA President Ms Gudbjorg Edda Eggertsdottir, speaking at the European Generic medicines Association’s (EGA’s) conferences in London, UK (11th EGA International Symposium on Biosimilar Medicines) and in Athens, Greece (19th EGA Annual Conference); stressed the importance of keeping generics and biosimilars manufacturers within Europe, thus ensuring that high quality manufacturing jobs and know-how remains in Europe. This would benefit society and patients and increase the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe.

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EGA President called for action from European and national authorities to ensure that sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing became a reality in Europe and for the European Commission to include generics and biosimilars in its industrial policy.

Ms Eggertsdottir pointed to the savings to be made from the use of generics and biosimilars, giving as an example a study by the Germany-based Institute for Healthcare and Social Research (IGES). The IGES study shows the potential savings of Euros 11.8 – Euros 33.4 billion could be realized from substituting reference biologicals with biosimilars in eight EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and UK) from 2007 to 2020 [1].

Ms Eggertsdottir further advised that healthcare spending fell in the European Union in 2010 by 0.6% – the first decrease in spending recorded since 1975 [2]. This fact led Ms Eggertsdottir to bring up the role that generic and biosimilar medicines have to play in promoting sustainable healthcare in the long term.

Substitution of biosimilars is currently not allowed at the pharmacy level in any European country; however, Ms Eggertsdottir stated that ‘it is also vital that European governments view biosimilar medicines as part of the solution to lowering healthcare costs and treating a larger number of patients.’

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An ageing population: generics and biosimilars could be the solution


1.  Haustein R, de Millas C, Höer A, Häussler B. Saving money in the European healthcare systems with biosimilars. Generics and Biosimilars Initiative Journal (GaBI Journal). 2012;1(3-4):120-6. doi: 10.5639/gabij.2012.0103-4.036

2.  GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. EU health spending in 2010 decreases for first time since 1975 []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2013 Jun 21]. Available from:

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