Bayer's chief executive Marijn Dekkers has repeated his concerns that short-sighted healthcare policies of governments based purely on lowering prices is seriously damaging the innovative research-based pharmaceutical industry.

Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives' Club, Dr Dekkers (pictured) said that the profits made by big pharma fund the R&D of future treatments, but "the danger of pushing the prices of prescription drugs down, down, down is that at some point the business model of developing these drugs will lose its attractiveness". According to a Reuters report, he acknowledged that there is a need for governments to better manage their budgets but said it was easy to attack pharmaceutical companies and their profits rather than focus on more complex methods of controlling health care costs.

He added that in the USA, "the balance is quite good, but in Germany it is more of a problem." However Dr Dekkers stressed that Bayer will continue to spend heavily on R&D and is creating an “open innovation model” by working more with universities and startups.

Contraceptive patch filed in Europe

Meantime, Bayer has submitted a marketing application in the European Union for a new transparent low-dose contraceptive patch (ethinylestradiol/ gestodene). France will serve as the reference member state in the decentralised procedure for gaining authorisation in countries in the EU.

The patch is applied once a week either to the abdomen, buttocks or outer upper arm where it delivers a steady, continuous dose of hormones over the seven-day application period.