Christoph Stoller, general manager for Austria and Germany at Teva was recently elected president of Medicines for Europe, the continent-wide association for the generics and biosimilars industries. Stoller plans to focus his efforts on improving access to generics and biosimilars in Europe, as well as tackling the damaging issue of medicine shortages. In a recent interview with PharmaBoardroom, Stoller outlined the priorities for his two-year mandate.
Over the coming two years, I will focus on sustainable access to generics, biosimilars and value-added medicines and the prevention of medicine shortages
Christoph Stoller was appointed president of Medicines for Europe in September 2019 after serving actively on the Medicines for Europe Board for the last five years. His key priorities will be to drive the use of high quality generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines to ensure equitable and sustainable access to medicines, to address supply chain vulnerabilities, to innovate in digital healthcare, and to progress industry commitment and investment to minimize environmental impact.
Stoller has worked for more than ten years at Israeli generics giant Teva in various management roles, and currently serves as the general manager for Germany and Austria, where he is responsible for Teva’s generics, over-the-counter and specialty medicines businesses in the two countries. Previously he held the positions of chief operating officer and vice president of strategic and commercial initiatives. His responsibilities have included overseeing pipeline management, business processes, government affairs, and commercial excellence, among others.
As highlighted in a 2017 report by The Economist, medicine shortages have been a global issue in healthcare for some time, and have increasingly been affecting European countries. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists reported that 86 percent of the 607 responding pharmacists in 36 European countries it surveyed had experienced difficulties in sourcing medicines.
Stoller feels that greater patient access to generic and biosimilar drugs can help address the problem of medicine shortages, emphasizing that his aim is “for high-quality medicines to be in the hands of patients when they need them. Over the coming two years, I will focus on sustainable access to generics, biosimilars and value-added medicines and the prevention of medicine shortages.” The newly-elected president has a comprehensive strategy for accomplishing his goals: “I plan to do this by optimising the regulatory framework, fostering a sustainable and responsive industry, securing European leadership in medicines and API manufacturing, and incentivising the digital transformation of our healthcare systems.”
He also plans to better secure the generics supply chain, addressing the root of the issue: “The level of shortages is unacceptable and we as an industry need to fix the holes in the supply chain. We are now taking action to make our supply chain more secure and less vulnerable by ensuring that, as much as possible, we do not rely on single suppliers and that we have backups. We are also putting much more focus on essential medicines.”
Stoller believes that collaboration-driven policy change is key to achieving his two-year objectives, stating that “we as an industry need to partner with governments to rapidly enact policy reforms. Therefore, I am calling on the European Commission and its newly elected President Ursula von der Leyen to take action on sustainable access to medicines for patients. I strongly believe that, after ten years, the time has come to launch an action-focused high-level pharmaceutical forum and strive for a clear consensus and strategic roadmap by addressing policy failures that hinder investments in medicine manufacturing and supply.”