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EFPIA targets MEPs in social media campaign

Published on 17/03/14 at 07:59am
EFPIA Bergstrom image
EFPIA director general Richard Bergström

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has launched a social media campaign aimed at MEPs.

With ten weeks to go before the beginning of European Parliament elections, #HealthyEU Health and Growth attempts to concentrate political minds on life sciences strategy across the European Union.

The trade group, which represents pharma in Europe, is attempting to push the industry to the fore of the political agenda by using blogs and other social media to “build a case for a more ambitious and integrated life sciences strategy in the EU”.

In essence it wants new policymakers to see pharma as a partner which can help deliver better health for patients and discover new medicines, and will use figures - for example, that EFPIA spend €30 billion per year on R&D in Europe, providing 700,000 direct jobs and a trade balance of €80 billion - to reinforce its case.

The campaign, launched at the 20th Economist Pharma Summit in London, highlights what EFPIA sees as “current failings in three interdependent pillars of health and growth”.

The group says that major health inequalities still exist in Europe, despite advances over the last 60 years, while the ‘access and predictability of funding’ for medicines has to be improved.

Finally - and of perhaps most direct interest to EFPIA members - the campaign will say that European pharma is losing its competitiveness when it comes to attracting global investment for R&D projects.  

EFPIA director general Richard Bergström said: “An integrated life sciences strategy for the EU will not only deliver better health outcomes for European citizens, but also support financially sustainable healthcare systems, and achieve economic growth in Europe.” 

“In the run-up to the European Parliament elections, we see the need to highlight a common goal that should drive all European citizens and public policy stakeholders,” explained Christopher Viehbacher, chief executive of Sanofi and EFPIA president.

“We need to improve outcomes by increasing prevention and chronic disease management and address the deepening disparities across Europe in access to healthcare and innovative solutions,” he added.

“We must connect the science to the health needs by strategically consolidating the research agenda between public and private actors and among the different Member States. It is also essential to strengthen the mechanisms for the uptake of science and technology,” Viehbacher concluded. 

EFPIA seems keen to beef up its communications activity and has hired a new comms director, Liam English, currently in that role at Eli Lilly and who takes up his new post in May.

Adam Hill

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