The unprecedented health crisis that the world is facing reminds us, if necessary, of the great dependence of our countries on health products and materials designed overseas.
Will we face a shortage of medicines, for which China and India are the main suppliers, escalate the terrible difficulties of the moment? Will globalisation of the supply chain, without a complete assessment of the risks of supply disruption, deprive us of essential pharmaceutical active ingredients? Could the relocation of production in Europe be the solution ?
As a result, pharmaceutical companies have kept on rationalising their footprint while containing their industrial investments. These were meant to control the erosion of their return on R&D investments with a very limited success .
How can we globally contemplate future scenarios? What future for drugs at a global level? What can we do to prevent a potential shortage?
Monitoring such production footprints is heavily challenging :
In many countries, public health is an invaluable capital delivering physical, mental and well-being to the community. Higher operating costs might be necessary to prevent that such system breaks up.
Faced with these challenges, productions relocation’s issue is only the tip of the iceberg ! We need to come back to the rationale for this shift and draw lessons how to cope with the resulting issues; indeed :
China no longer wants to be only the producer of active ingredients but also the developer of new molecules. It has recently simplified its approval process for new medicines and is the first country in the world to approve a new anemia treatment, Roxadustat by Astra Zeneca and Fibrogen. It is also developing the «Pharma Valley» made in China, in Shanghai’s Pudong district, country’s biotechnology heart. China is building the width and depth of its core competences: “China has funds, scientific resources and the key projects supported by the central government…” said Jun Ren, founder of New Summit Biopharma.
If we are not ready to change the paradigm, Europe will lose the grip on future drugs. This may be impactful on our public health.
 The pharmacist’s daily life: Is there a risk for medicines supply? – M. Mazière – February the 17th 2020
 Euractiv : Europe’s dependence on medecine imports – March the 16th 2020
 Académie Nationale de Pharmacie : Pharmaceutical raw materials, globalization and public health, council recommendations – June the 22nd 2011
 Strategic Horizons: Drug Market Characteristics and Pharmaceutical Company Strategies – P. Abecassi et N. Coutinet – 2008,1, n°7,111-139
 Site internet LaBiotech.eu internet website – April the 20th 2020 : https://www.labiotech.eu/features/biotech-investment-pharma-innovation/
 Counterpoints: Drug shortage in France, 4 items – June 2019
 The Opinion: China approves a drug for the first time before other nations – December the 19th 2018
 PWC: Would the world’s largest pharmaceutical industry located in China? – C. Mazille et H. Rives – December 2019