SMi invites you to its 8th annual Parallel Trade conference, taking place in London on the 10th and 11th February 2014. We are very grateful to our Chairman, Dr Eric Noehrenberg, Director Public Affairs, Market Access, Shire AG for taking time out to give us his views on the value of this conference, the benefits for attendees, the challenges and the future of parallel trade. View the interview below.
1. What is the value of this year’s conference?
The value of this year’s conference is that it brings together key stakeholders in a balanced manner. Experts from the EU Commission, R&D – based pharmaceutical industry, academia, and parallel traders themselves will present their perspectives on the important issue of parallel trade.
2. How does this year’s agenda compare to the one last year?
This year’s agenda benefits from a presentation from the EU Commission, which was not possible last year. The Commission is a key stakeholder in the issue of parallel trade in Europe and thus an opportunity to directly interact with a representative of the Commission will be valuable for participants. We also have a stronger presence from the parallel traders, whose perspectives are often unheard in such conferences yet their view on parallel trade is thought-provoking and gives excellent insights into “the other side” of the debate.
3. Who would benefit from this event / Who should attend?
Clearly, pharmaceutical company colleagues involved in market access, supply chain management, public affairs/ government relations, and marketing will benefit from this year’s conference, as they have from the conferences in the past years. Government officials involved in healthcare should also take part, in order to gain a balanced perspective on the complex issues around parallel trade from the different presenters. Patient groups and other civil society stakeholders would benefit as well.
4. What do you think are the main benefits for participating in the event?
The main benefit of this year’s conference is the opportunity to obtain a balanced, expert perspective from a variety of key stakeholders. SMi has done a great job to obtain a excellent set of speakers who will be presenting their special knowledge in a thought-provoking and informative manner. But it should not be forgotten that the participants in the audience have excellent experience as well, and the sessions are designed to give the opportunity for interaction between the audience and speakers, which is a key element of the conference.
5. What do you think are the most interesting sessions in this conference?
I feel that all sessions will be valuable and useful for the participants. The conference brings real value for the professional interests of the participants, for certain! Having said that, I am particularly excited about the EU Commission presenting directly for the first time. Past conference have talked about EU policy concerning parallel trade from the perspectives of other stakeholders, but this year is the first opportunity to engage the Commission directly on this important issue. I am also intrigued by what the parallel traders will say this year – their perspective is often unheard at such conferences. At the SMi conference, they will be able to present and engage on an equal footing with other speakers and participants from the R&D-based industry, which always leads to good and thought provoking discussions. I am looking forward to it!
6. What do you believe are the biggest challenges for the pharmaceutical industry?
The biggest challenge regarding parallel trade is that this trade will continue to grow due to government policies and the simple economics of varying prices in national markets and the free movement of goods in the EU. How R&D-based companies can continue to ensure consistent supply of quality medicines to patients in need in a world of parallel trade will be the key challenge. Patients are at the center of the business of all of us – pharmaceutical companies, parallel traders, and government policymakers. How patient needs can be best served in a world of parallel trade is one of the challenges that we will address at this year’s conference.
7. What will attendees take away from your talk?
As Chairman, I want to set the scene for the rest of the conference. My presentation will set out the basic concepts and fundamental aspects of parallel trade so that the expert speakers can build on this to present their particular areas of expertise.
8. How will this event help in resolving business challenges?
Companies who are already facing parallel trade will benefit well from the experience of other companies and the expertise of leading experts in the field. The lessons learned at this conference will be business-useful for refining and strengthening companies’ policies regarding parallel trade. Even companies which are not currently strongly affected by parallel trade would be well advised to come to the conference and learn from others, so that they will be well prepared when parallel trade will affect their products.
9. What is the future of parallel trade?
Having worked in this area since 1999, I am convinced that parallel trade in the EU will continue to grow and expand. Government policy makers at the national and EU level often view parallel trade as a way of reducing drug costs. Parallel traders have developed a very profitable business model of buying at lower prices and selling at higher prices. The economics of parallel trade will thus continue to encourage this trade. Pharmaceutical companies have adopted different strategies to ensure continuity of supply of their products to patients, but these strategies are continually under challenge. Thus, keeping up to date with the latest developments in parallel trade policy and strategies is vital for companies and colleagues involved in the parallel trade issue, and the SMi conference is the best conference around for gaining this experience and expertise necessary to be effective regarding parallel trade.
To hear more about the fundamental aspects of parallel trade and network with senior decision makers from the industry, register now.
For more information contact Fateja Begum on +442078276184 or email [email protected]
SMi Group Ltd