Bayer CEO wary of German healthcare reforms

30 April 2010 18:59  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s proposed healthcare reforms are too focused on “short-term interventionist measures” and as such may affect producers’ ability to innovate in the country, Bayer chief executive Werner Wenning said on Friday.

In a criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reforms, Wenning said Germany’s healthcare system needed a “fundamental reform”, but this should focus on a market-based approach that allowed greater competition.

Research-based pharmaceutical companies had the capability and would continue developing innovative medicines, he said.

 “… I’m sure you agree with me that the politicians should encourage us to do so,” Wenning told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Cologne.

Earlier, the country's chemical industry group VCI also said it was sceptical about Merkel's healthcare reforms.

Planned healthcare savings in drugs and medicines would harm firms’ ability to innovate and invest in Germany and therefore could jeopardise jobs in the industry, the Frankfurt-based group said.

The pharmaceutical industry was spending over 10% of sales on research and development (R&D) and as such made an over-proportional contribution to the EU’s "Europe 2020" strategy, which aims at 3% of gross national product to be invested in R&D, the group added.

Leverkusen-based Bayer - a major chemicals and pharmaceuticals firm - this week reported  first-quarter sales at its healthcare division of €3.87bn, or almost 47% of its overall 2009 first-quarter sales of €8.32bn ($10.95bn).

Friday's annual meeting was Wenning’s last as Bayer chief executive. He is due to be succeeded by Marijn Dekkers in October.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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