Pharma companies want more clinical trials and faster access to drugs

Industry, which employs 45,000 in State, puts forward ideas at Dublin conference

Some 400 delegates from multinational employers gathered in Dublin Castle on Wednesday for a biopharmaceutical industry conference. Photograph: iStock

Some 400 delegates from multinational employers gathered in Dublin Castle on Wednesday for a biopharmaceutical industry conference. Photograph: iStock

 

Giving seriously ill patients faster access to new drugs while trebling clinical trials would help boost the pharmaceutical industry, which employs 45,000 people in the Republic, a conference has heard.

Some 400 delegates from multinational employers such as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and others gathered in Dublin Castle on Wednesday for a biopharmaceutical industry conference.

Ahead of the conference, titled Biopharma Ambition 2020, the industry called for a new national strategy to support its development and the 45,000 jobs it has created in the Republic.

The strategy’s key points include an industry-State agreement that would give seriously ill Irish patients faster access to new medicines and trebling the number of clinical trials held in the Republic to 375 a year from 125.

Drug makers also want a focus on new cell and gene-based cures for serious illnesses and say the Health Service Executive should develop sophisticated systems for using data to track disease treatment to achieve better results for patients.

Lorraine Nolan, chief executive of State medicines watchdog the Health Products Regulatory Authority, confirmed that the body wanted to broaden its role to support innovation in complex products and by aiding the development of treatments for serious ailments and rare diseases.

Improve results

Jim O’Donoghue, president of Irish business S3 Connected Health, which provides systems to drug and medical device makers that allows them to use data to improve the effectiveness of their treatments, argued that technology would improve results for patients.

Recent Central Bank figures show that pharmaceuticals accounted for almost two-thirds of the Republic’s exports in the first nine months of last year.

Matt Moran, director of joint conference organiser Biopharmachem Ireland (BPCI), said the industry and Government needed to collaborate to sustain the Republic’s progress in luring pharmaceutical investment.

The National Institute for Bioprocessing and Training and the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association organised the conference along with BPCI.