The pharmaceutical industry safeguards people's everyday life in midst of crises, providing hope for a better tomorrow


The pharmaceutical industry safeguards people's everyday life in midst of crises, providing hope for a better tomorrow

In an unstable global situation, it is society's responsibility to ensure that people's everyday safety is maintained also in terms of the pharmaceutical services. Despite the crises, there is already a ray of light showing the way towards a brighter future. Let's bring in the light and give people hope for a better future. 

Many of us expected that the year 2022 would have been a pathway from the COVID-19 crisis towards a more normal life. However, this was not the case. Just a few weeks into the new year, the world faced with a new, completely unexpected crisis. Russia's attack to Ukraine shook the world peace and has impacted all aspects of our life.

As a result of the crises and the turbulent global political situation, the issues regarding the availability of medicines have also become increasingly important for the industry to resolve, both internationally and domestically. In Finland, we have done well in comparison to other countries, and we have been able to ensure the availability of medicines very well even in times of crises - through cooperation.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry has done and is going to do everything in its power in Europe to ensure that medicines are available to those who need them, in the crisis areas included. In Finland, we have collaborated closely with the authorities and the entire pharmaceutical distribution chain. In Europe, our member companies and our umbrella organisation EFPIA have done a tremendous job.

However, the availability of medicines is not an issue that the industry can solve on its own. Society and the decision-makers must consider in all their decisions – whether financial or legislative – that medicines are critical, life-sustaining products for many people.

"In an unstable world situation, society has the duty to ensure that people's everyday security is maintained also in terms of the pharmaceutical services. In our advocacy work regarding the parliamentary elections, which has continued throughout the year, we have highlighted how the new Government should improve Finland's security of supply in all critical areas that affect people and society, including the availability of medicines. This must not be jeopardised through short-sighted and hasty decisions," says Sanna Aunesluoma, Managing Director of Pharma Industry Finland (PIF). 

Growth in the health sector requires enabling legislation and an enabling environment

World crises have also shaken the Finnish economy, hitting hard. It is more important than ever that the pharmaceutical industry and the entire health sector can contribute as one of the growth sectors in the pursuit for a healthier Finnish economy.

In 2022, the total investments in the pharmaceutical industry grew to EUR 380 million, which is 6% more than in 2021. Growth was particularly seen in R&D, in which EUR 263 million was invested. The research investments, a significant part of which are clinical trials, increased by approximately 12% from 2021.

"Companies in our sector have continuously increased their investments in Finland, and our country is still interesting for the pharmaceutical companies. In the next couple of years, the growth in investments is estimated to be approximately EUR 75 million per year," says Niilo Färkkilä, Chairman of the Board of Pharma Industry Finland (PIF).

"However, we should not be lulled into the growth figures. International competition for research and production investments is fierce, which is why the incoming Government must strengthen the growth of the health sector, for example, by means of rapid amendments to the Act on the Secondary Use of Health Data. It is also important for Finnish decision-makers to contribute to ensuring that Europe does not lose its position as an interesting research and production environment. This would also mean big risks in terms of the availability of medicines," Mr. Färkkilä continues.

Investing now in health is an input in Finland's future

The Finnish population is ageing at a rapid speed, and at the same time the need for healthcare services is growing. In addition to the treatment of diseases, there is a growing need for health promotion measures. We need to curb the growth of healthcare costs overall and invest in maintaining people's work and functional capacity. Effective medication and vaccines are key tools in this respect.

In the case of the pharmaceutical treatments, however, the situation now is characterised by rapidly developing medicine and therapy options, with our legislation lagging far behind. And it is not only about sections of law but about people's opportunities to obtain the most integrated and effective treatment for their diseases. In the work to reform the pharmaceutical issues, we must quickly change to a new gear - the one of implementation. 

New therapies and increasingly individualised care generate hope of getting better – giving people hope

New pharmaceutical treatments are being researched and developed every day. Many diseases and persons who have fallen ill are still waiting for cures, and not everyone has hope of recovery. In other words, researchers have a lot of work to do to find out the root causes of diseases, how they can be prevented through vaccines and how to cure them, or to prevent the progress of a disease with the help of new treatment forms. 

Year 2022 - a year of active advocacy

The Finnish society is all set for the largest reform of the social welfare and healthcare services in the country’s history, and the new decision-makers have started their work fervently. This has also given regional lobbying a whole new importance in our association. It has been a pleasure to note that both the civil servants and the political decision-makers are inviting us in the health sector to engage in the debate and encouraging to find novel modes of operation.

At the same time, our association already focused its attention on the upcoming Government term during 2022, and we have met decision-makers throughout the year to communicate our Government programme objectives. The new Government of our country will begin its work under quite challenging circumstances: the international political climate is more unstable than it has been for a long time, and the economic challenges are major.

All cooperation we have conducted has contributed to strengthening our trust capital among our stakeholder groups, and our work has borne fruit. According to the survey made among our stakeholders, PIF’s reputation and the trust in our operations are at an excellent level. We value the feedback from our stakeholders and want to continue to enhance the trust in our association and the entire industry.

Behind the crises, there is already a ray of light showing the way towards a brighter future. Let's bring in the light and give people hope for a better future. Let's do it together – in a responsible, sustainable, and people-oriented way.

Read more from our Annual Report 2022.