There is frequent dialogue between the pharmaceutical industry, relevant regulatory authorities, and government stakeholders in the Czech Republic, but this dialogue is often strained. However, more frequent and constructive interaction between the myriad actors involved in Czech pharma and healthcare is helping push the industry to new heights.
Jan Žaloudík, Chairman of the committee of Health and Social Policy in the Czech Senate and advisor to the Prime Minister, explains that around the turn of the millennium pharmaceutical companies still “treated the Czech Republic as a banana republic” but emphasizes that this relationship has changed drastically and that today he has a “very positive experience with the pharmaceutical industry.”
Minister of Health, Svatopluk Němeček agrees and regards the dialogue as “very important and inspiring”, but accentuates his underlying desire to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry “serves the interests of the patients, not the other way round”. Zdenek Blahuta, director of the state institute for drug control, adds that “predictability, transparency, and an outgoing approach within the decision-making practice of the Institute should be a natural parameter of this relationship” in order to create a fair and equal dialogue in the interest of Czech patients.
René Bastl, Managing Director at Merck Group Czech Republic, confirms that the dialogue exists and that the relationship is beneficial, however “the regulatory stakeholders are not offering special favors to specific industry players, but an equal dialogue within legislative compliance is established”.
Nonetheless there seems to be leeway for improvement, for example Heidrun Irschik, CEO and CPO of Novartis Czech Republic, identifies that “synergies could be created, improving the healthcare outcome and economy alike. We are open for such collaboration and are willing to commit, however, the interest, openness and commitment must be mutual.” Vladimir Uraz, General Manager Slovakia & Czech Republic for ALK-Abello, agrees, “our strategy and philosophy is to move the segment at large towards full standardization; for us this simply means raising the bar across Europe in collaboration with patient organizations, medical societies, physicians,regulatory authorities and government stakeholders.” Uraz sees an increase in regulatory requirements as “simply the future of our industry” and is seeking a strong collaboration with relevant government stakeholders to ensure fast and safe access of patients to innovative treatments, highlighting that “in a dialogue, we could collaboratively work on solutions!”
Overall, the Czech pharmaceutical landscape has come a long way since first implementing rules and regulations to the level of mature markets in 2008. Today, it is a well-developed country with highly sophisticated rules and regulations, a prospering industry, and public as well as private stakeholders converging in an effort to realize potential synergies. Located at the geographic heart of Europe and serving as transit nation between Western and Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic certainly holds the key to the door of greatness!