From 14th to 17th November 2016, the 8th European Innovation Summit was organized in the European Parliament in Brussels. The Summit focused on the channeling of innovation in response to major societal challenges, particularly on the need for technology, but also the connection and communication between science and society.

Of particular interest for EBC was the debate on balance between continued investment in novel biological medicines and increased access to medicines for patients across Europe.  Biotechnology was presented as holding immense promise for reducing the burden of diseases, but patient access to such medicines was said to be increasingly threatened by short-term cost containment measures.

Speakers included Dr. Andrzej Rys, Director for Health Systems, medical products and innovation, DG SANTE, who was recently a guest speaker at the EBC Board Meeting in November, 2016.  The panel discussed this predicament: “How can we reward innovation without impeding access to medicines for patients?” One recommendation from the discussion was to enhance EU Health Technology Assessment cooperation among Member States and to support early access tools at the European Medicines Agency. Another panel speaker, Ricco Buitink, Health Attaché, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, suggested that future sustainable business models should be based on societal demands as the drivers for development and price setting of new pharmaceutical products.

Throughout the summit, debates covering a variety of hot topics all highlighted the key measures Europe now must take in order to benefit from the evolving technological and innovation landscape and stressed that during this time of major challenges and opportunities, bold decisions and actions are required.