[Ip-health] news: CNBC- CEO Blog: The Challenge of Providing Access to Affordable Medication
Terri - Louise Beswick
Terri at haiweb.org
Mon Jun 28 03:03:10 PDT 2010
CEO Blog: The Challenge of Providing Access to Affordable Medication
Published: Thursday, 24 Jun 2010 | 9:35 AM ET
By: William S. Marth, Pres., & CEO, Teva North America
In today's world, the process of providing access to affordable
healthcare should be easier than it is. Globally, we're all affected by
the rising costs of healthcare in the face of an aging population -
increasing expenditures for healthcare is a challenge in every country
where Teva has a presence.
A vast majority of Teva's [TEVA 52.26 0.27 (+0.52%) ] current
business is in the U.S., where a significant portion of healthcare funds
are spent on expensive biologic therapies. For the past decade, generic
pharmaceutical companies have been working towards the goal of bringing
biosimilars to patients in the U.S. Around the world, the biologics
markets are seeing increased competition, which is driving down the
price of these expensive therapies. However, here in the U.S., we have
legislation that essentially discourages companies from creating a true
biosimilar. Brand companies are given 12 years of monopoly protection,
and also the opportunity to make a slight "tweak" to their therapy to
start the clock all over again. This was the bill that was passed by
both the House and Senate - who are elected to represent the people. If
you ask me, the people should have wanted a bill that enabled lower-cost
alternatives, not discouraged them.
As I write this, we are witnessing the FTC's attempt to secure passage
of anti-consumer patent settlement legislation by attaching it to a bill
that covers much needed funding for teachers and U.S. soldiers. We
believe that the banning of all patent settlements not only hinders the
process of challenging patents but ultimately drastically reduces
American's access to affordable medicine. If this isn't the system at
its worst, I don't know what is.
Similar regulatory challenges exist throughout the rest of the world.
Measures that are being introduced throughout Western Europe, Israel,
Russia and even countries in Latin America may cause delays in market
entry... all to the detriment of patients. We continue to use our voice
in these countries to encourage regulation that provides guidelines and
governance to enhance the quality of our healthcare systems.
There are, however, bright spots in this story.
We have numerous opportunities for increased generic usage in the US,
and there are emerging markets where patents are set to expire - which
will create growth for Teva, but more importantly, affordable therapy
alternatives to a population who cannot afford coverage today.
We have spoken publicly about our focus on increasing market share in
key international markets in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe
and Asia. In Latin America, the pharmaceutical market has many players
but no clear leader. There is a robust generic drug system, and based on
IMS forecasts, the Latin America pharmaceutical market is expected to
grow an average rate of approximately 12% through 2013. Japan is the
second largest pharmaceutical market in the world. We've already
established a joint venture in this market - Teva-Kowa Pharma Co., Ltd.
This joint venture already acquired approximately 70% of a local
Japanese generics company - Taisho. Russia is one of the top ten markets
by value - which is one of the reasons why the government is seeking to
encourage use of generics.
We believe this growth will result in an increased demand for generic
drugs, especially as patients, governments and payors strive to contain
the increased costs of healthcare. With our robust pipeline, expansive
product portfolio, and global presence, we believe that Teva is uniquely
positioned to have a significant presence in these expanding markets.
Aside from the sales of pharmaceuticals globally, I'm also proud of our
product donation program. We donate product to our non-governmental
organization partners every quarter, and recently had the distinct
pleasure of making a sizable donation to assist in relief efforts in
The truly exciting part of working for Teva is that while you're
building value for your shareholders, you're also bringing value to
patients. Teva is both a brand and generic company and I truly believe
we are better able to navigate the delicate balance between access and
innovation. This is what sets Teva apart from our competition.
I've personally had the opportunity to work in various roles in the
healthcare system. I'm a pharmacist by education, and I've worked on
both the retail and manufacturing side. I've witnessed the growth
generic pharmaceuticals in the U.S. into a global industry. Throughout
my career, I have come to realize that this is one of the most rewarding
industries - one where all of us have only just begun to recognize the
possibilities that exist and the potential to truly make quality
healthcare accessible to everyone.
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