Finland is globally known for its pro-innovation policies. However, whether or not we really support innovation is often tested in the details and technicalities that, in practice, regulate and perhaps stifle innovation.

The pharma industry in Europe, which is an international leader in innovation, is worried. While the rest of the world, including China, is moving towards better protecting innovation and patents, Europe seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Specifically, we are talking about protecting the pharma industry’s innovations. Developing new medicines takes time. Between the first patent and going to market is a long period with intricate processes. Now Europe – or rather the European Commission – is exploring the possibility of cutting the protection scheme for these innovative processes. They are preparing a proposal to grant a manufacturing waiver to the Supplementary Protection Certificates that are still in force. In practice, this would allow imitators to develop, stockpile and export medicines while the original medicine is still under patent protection.

Allowing exceptions to patent protection does not send the right signal to international investors. There is a clear choice: does Europe want to attract innovation and high-quality jobs, or not?

There is still time to turn the tide and back the pro-innovation position.

AmCham EU’s Healthcare Committee visited Finland to discuss the matter. They wanted to discuss their concerns and encourage key ministries to take the lead with a strong, pro-innovation stand in Brussels. Thank you to Ava Lloyd from AmCham EU and Erwan Gicquel from Celgene Brussels for reaching out to us to make this meeting happen.

The Brussels delegation could not have had a better start to their busy day. They were able to hit the ground running by first getting an insightful briefing from Amcham Finland’s active pharma members. Special thanks to Antti Viitanen, CEO of Novartis Finland, for chairing the meeting and Petri Lehto from MSD Finland, Kati Nyman from Abbvie and Sanna Viitanen from Celgene for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Comparing notes and gaining insights into Finnish policy-making was useful and paved the way for fruitful and positive meetings during our guests’ stay in Helsinki.

Amcham Finland continues to advocate for pro-innovation policies and support its innovative members. We want Finland to have a strong profile as a pro-innovation country not only by reputation, but also in practice.

Nina Hyvärinen

Head of Advocacy, Amcham Finland

+358 50 504 7701