How would you describe the situation in the pharmaceutical industry?

The innovative pharmaceutical industry is a very special sector which, on the one hand, co-creates the Polish healthcare system, and, on the other, significantly shapes the country’s economy. This is backed up by a number of factors, including multi-million-dollar investments in innovation activities and clinical trials, R&D work carried out in the country, the transfer of know-how and knowledge and, finally, the creation of several thousand highly specialised jobs. All this has the effect of strengthening the country’s innovative potential and making a tangible contribution to Poland’s economic growth.

As Roche, in the last three years, we have allocated almost PLN 3 billion to innovation activities and clinical trials in Poland, with these investments exceeding PLN 1.6 billion in 2022 alone. We spend almost twice as much on developing innovation in the country as we raise from refunds and product sales; we reinvested 184% of the funds last year. Roche’s expenditure on clinical trials is also on the rise, having exceeded PLN 201 million last year – an increase of 35% on the previous year. It is worth mentioning that more than 25% of the clinical trials conducted globally in 2021 by Roche took place in Poland. We are also investing in building competencies and an environment conducive to innovation in many areas. We employ over 1,150 people in Poland. Importantly, our team is made up of specialists with unique competences – researchers, scientists, IT experts. Thanks to this, we are able to fulfil our mission of providing and disseminating innovative solutions to Polish patients, doctors, and the healthcare system.

It would seem illogical to have such a massive scale of money allocated to research issues. It is also important to bear in mind the rate of return.

The return is important, but the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry in our country translates into more than just corporate profit. At Roche, we see our role as broader than the company’s traditionally defined role of developing and delivering innovative therapies. With our three divisions operating in Poland – Roche Pharma, Roche Diagnostics Polska, and Roche Diabetes Care Polska, we are able to take a comprehensive look at the health needs of patients and society. Together with innovative therapies, we are taking steps to promote access to innovative diagnostic tools. We believe that they are also key to improving health and building a sustainable health system, and that in the long term, they represent an investment rather than a cost.

For years, the burden of discussing system and cost optimisation has been on access to modern therapies. Today, however, there is increasing talk of strengthening the role of diagnosis and moving from restorative medicine to preventive medicine. Health systems that have turned to diagnostics and prevention are not only seeing better patient outcomes, but also fewer hospitalisations and unnecessary tests, significantly reducing costs.

At Roche, we understand innovative diagnostic solutions as tools to support the patient at every stage of the diagnostic and therapeutic pathway – from prevention and effective diagnosis, through monitoring the effectiveness of treatment, to monitoring the patient’s condition during and after therapy. We believe that innovative diagnostics is the answer to many challenges in the healthcare system.

Where does the industry see its greatest opportunities?

Opportunities come with threats. At the Economic Forum in Karpacz, we talk a lot about the challenges for Poland. In terms of the healthcare system and the activities of innovative pharmaceutical companies, we see three challenging areas. Firstly, an ageing population and, therefore, an increase in the health needs of the entire population. This is not an isolated problem for Poland, with rising costs and limited resources being faced by health systems around the world. Secondly, the proliferation of digitalisation, particularly in the area of health and the use of medical data. A major challenge in this area is to raise awareness of the value of health data and how it can be used to benefit patients and the system. There is a need to build public confidence in and education about processing health data. The third area is the need to strengthen and further build the innovation ecosystem so that it facilitates the development of innovation in Poland and attracts further investment in innovation to Poland.

What risks do you see for the industry?

A stable and predictable legislative system remains a challenge for the development and attraction of innovation to Poland. In the pharmaceutical industry, especially an innovative one in which we undertake investment activities for decades, intellectual property rights are a particularly important issue. The second area links to data – alongside high-quality medical data, there is a need for interoperability between systems to collect and process it. A key issue is to ensure the security of the data stored. The use of health data is a prospective opportunity that is already within reach and will support the building of a stable and crisis-resilient health care system – provided that we collectively take care of this issue today.

What needs to be done to maintain the scale of pharmaceutical investment in Poland?

For us, as an investor and partner of the Polish economy, it is clearly the predictability of the law, but also the application of global standards of medical conduct and procedures in practice. The stability and predictability of the law is inextricably linked to a clear and unambiguous interpretation of reimbursement regulations, which enables us to implement far-reaching investment plans and strengthens Poland’s position as an important European market. By operating within a framework of stable and predictable law and following global medical guidelines, we will all benefit – as patients, the health system, and the economy. Collaboration with stakeholders is also important to us. The Covid-19 pandemic proved to us all that through multidimensional collaboration and building public-private partnerships, we are able to meet dynamically changing needs. They have enabled the acceleration of development and implementation of innovative solutions, including effective diagnostic solutions. Today, we need to change the way we think about the health care system and move from restorative medicine to preventive medicine. In addition to providing innovative therapies to patients, we believe that turning to this direction will drive growth in the pharmaceutical industry for the benefit of the entire healthcare system and the economy.

Is this scale of investment sustainable?

An understanding of the value of innovation and the contribution it makes to the economy is at the heart of collaboration to build an innovation ecosystem. It is not only investment in innovative activities, but also jobs; it is unique competence of the teams working on research and development, and, last but not least, it is an opportunity to strengthen the quality in the Polish healthcare system, including through access to the latest medical advances.


materiały prasowe