Latest Hans Schikan News
Feb 13, 2024
Accelerating access to innovation for patients, and providing predictability in the high-risk environment of drug making is critical, a former Dutch vaccines envoy has told Euractiv, adding that the current EU pharmaceutical framework is unsustainable in the long term. As the EU’s new pharma legislation is being reviewed, players in the pharmaceutical industry continue to insist that intellectual property must be protected to incentivise innovation in Europe. Hans Schikan , a former Dutch vaccines envoy, argues that the EU’s next goals should be to ensure quicker access to innovative medicines and to stimulate the creation of this innovation. Reaching these goals, he said, would mean patients in Europe, and the rest of the world will benefit faster from new drugs. “The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to advanced therapies,” Schikan told Euractiv. In 2021, Schikan was appointed by the Dutch government as its special envoy to scale up the coronavirus vaccine production and supply. With over 30 years of industry experience and as a member of the Top Team of the Dutch Top Sector for Life Sciences and Health, he is not directly involved in the ongoing pharma legislation negotiations, though he says he follows the negotiations closely and occasionally gives advice. Asked by Euractiv about his take on the current state of Europe’s pharmaceutical legislation, Schikan said he is of the opinion that scientific advancements are going extremely well, with treatments for previously incurable diseases and individualised therapy emerging through the current framework. However, most of the cell and gene therapies in development are quite expensive due to the research and development costs involved in bringing them to market. “That creates a challenge,” he said. “We need to develop alternative reimbursement models but simultaneously focus on bringing new therapies to patients more quickly without compromising on safety and efficacy while also ensuring their accessibility.” “Developing new drugs costs a lot of money. Many investors are needed in order to make that happen,” said Schikan. He explained the process involves a multitude of risks – development, regulatory, manufacturing, market, and geopolitical. Adding even more risks to how long companies can benefit from their innovations hurts the investment climate, ultimately leading to patients not having access to innovative drugs, he said. For this reason, Schikan argues for periods of market exclusivity and similar protections for companies working on innovative drugs are essential for investments made at an early stage into those innovations. Common pricing great, but long way off Earlier this month, the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance told Euractiv that a price for drugs that’s the same in all countries would be detrimental to lower-income countries and that it would prefer to negotiate directly with drugmakers. From Schikan’s perspective, while identical pricing and reimbursement systems would be welcomed, the EU is not yet at the level where this could be implemented. While he finds the current systems to be “working reasonably well”, he estimates that in 20 years the volume of new innovations coming will increase pressure on these systems. Hypothetically, he said everyone would benefit if an equal and centralised system is developed. “If it’s a fair price, not only the companies but also the countries concerned and last but not least, the patients will benefit in that case,” he said. Incentives work Of the legislative proposals currently on the table, Schikan highlights that the main source of criticism is the lack of sufficient incentives or that these are only granted through complicated processes. Providing predictability to the high-risk environment of drug making will lessen some of the risks and help attract investment towards Europe. Schikan referenced the United States’ Orphan Drug Act, established in 1983, to show that incentivising companies towards certain directions works effectively – “I think [this] should be the essence of any new pharma legislation as well,” he remarked. Schikan also listed different elements that make the Netherlands a major player in the life sciences field, not least the strong collaboration between academia, industry, the government, and also patient organisations. He also had words of praise for FAST , a centre set up by the Dutch Ministry for Health working on future, affordable, and sustainable therapies. The centre aims to connect stakeholders who are actively involved in the process of innovative therapy development to parties that can contribute to innovating the chain with additional know-how. “FAST is a great way to exemplify how the Dutch are thinking about affordability and quick access to drugs for patients,” he said. Beyond the Dutch border, from his perspective, Europe is also already achieving a lot, including creating several vaccines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he believes that more can still be done and that Europe has what it takes to become a world leader in pharma. “And it would be a shame if we don’t do that. For the sake of patients, but also for the sake of our economies,” he said. [By Christoph Schwaiger, edited by Vasiliki Angouridi, Brian Maguire| Euractiv’s Advocacy Lab] Read more with Euractiv
Hans Schikan Investments
Hans Schikan has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Xinvento as part of their Angel on April 21, 2022.
Hans Schikan Investments Activity