Access to drugs is going to be unsustainable in the future as the EU faces an ageing population, and the only saving grace will be increasing generic medicines volume, a patient access meeting has been told. 

Speaking at the event organised by the European Generic medicines Association, Professor Steven Simoens from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven said “savings of an additional €16 billion per annum could be achieved by increasing generic medicines volume in key areas related to the ageing population”. 

The problem Europe faces has two sides – an ageing population and a falling birth rate. It is anticipated that in the near future fewer workers will be paying larger healthcare bills to treat age-related diseases in an increasing number of elderly patients. 

“This situation will become unsustainable and access to treatments for the elderly will be threatened unless EU health policy-makers exploit the advantages offered by generic and biosimilar medicines,” said Greg Perry, EGA director general. 

The use of generics has already resulted in savings of €30 billion in the EU. 

“The large number of products going off patent in the next decade presents another chance for the EU to grasp the opportunity presented by generic medicines with a view to ensuring long term sustainability in healthcare. However, this requires active governmental policies to increase volume shares of generic medicines,” said IMS heath expert Alan Sheppard. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer has announced it is launching a generic drug business in the Philippines to take on the off-patent drug industry there. 

Nine generic products will be rolled out by the new unit, Pfizer Parke Davis, including anti-infectives and anti-hypertensives, and coincides with the drug giant’s plan to establish generics businesses in 44 emerging countries. With aggressive price cuts in many countries and a looming patent cliff, the firm hopes an emphasis on generics will counteract some of this, while also aiming to make Pfizer one of the three top generic companies.  

  

“This business development will help us reach even more patients than ever before and change the landscape of generics as we know it,” Angelica Mendoza-Dalupan, communications director at Pfizer Philippines, said.