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Blog #33: The noise in the forest of leaves

Natascha de Raad on the latest news from the healthcare industry and other topics

[Translate to English:] Blog #33: Natascha de Raad über aktuelle News aus der Healthcare-Branche

By Natascha de Raad

I always like to use the weekend to look back on the past few days - and I read a lot, everything that I didn't have time to do during the week. This Saturday I was in a good mood, perhaps also because the sun was shining from the sky.

The coverage of health policy and the pharmaceutical industry ranges from daily reports on the legalization of cannabis to different positions on the Medical Research Act and current problems with e-prescriptions in doctors' surgeries and pharmacies. These are just a few of the topics…

Quo vadis hospital reform?

The headline of the weekend edition of my regional daily newspaper read: "Are hospitals in Lower Saxony soon to die?" I am immediately immersed in healthcare policy, in the discussion and the demand for nationwide hospital care within a reasonable distance of my home. At a meeting of Lower Saxony's district councils, those responsible identified the critical situation of the hospitals and the upcoming reform as the greatest concern of the local authorities and called on the Federal Minister of Health to secure the financial basis of the hospitals.

Our Federal Minister of Health, Prof. Karl Lauterbach, only recently recognized in his favourite talk show that our healthcare system, which in 2022 will be spending almost 500 billion a year, is nowhere near the efficiency that could be expected with this amount. 
Despite all the criticism, I can well imagine how difficult it is to bring together the different opinions and interests of all stakeholders. You can't please everyone anyway. The hospital reform is the best example of how the federal and state governments are trying to push through their respective positions.

Hospital reform, nationwide supply of medicines and the German healthcare system in transition: we are broadly positioned and prepared for all eventualities


Is cannabis legalization coming and if so, when? 

If you are involved in local politics, which we all are at various levels, then you know what I am talking about. In Goslar, there is currently a heated debate about the construction of a town hall.  There are fair discussions, but there are also comments that are way below the belt. Forming an opinion can cost a lot of time, money and energy, but is unavoidable in a democracy. Discussions about the right path are absolutely necessary, but please do so on a proper factual basis. Another topic in the healthcare sector is highly emotional: the legalization of cannabis. I have already commented on this on several occasions and the daily publications on this legislative process do not exactly make it easy to ignore them. As a pharmaceutical logistics company and narcotics specialist, we at Med-X-Press follow all statements on the subject particularly closely. Now that the law has passed the Bundestag, there are once again many question marks over the Bundesrat's vote. When I look at the press reports of the past week, it seems that anything is possible again, whether the date of entry into force is postponed or the project is overturned. But I don't want to get lost in speculation... 
We are staying tuned, especially in the interests of our cannabis customers.

FAQ on Cannabis legalization in 

Focus on the pharmaceutical industry

It is clear that pharmaceutical logistics, as an outsourcing partner to drug manufacturers, is closely interwoven with all developments in the pharmaceutical industry. It is just as clear that health policy decisions have an impact on our business and the design of our service offerings. The interests of our customers are also our interests. The focus is on Germany as a business location and the situation in the industry here and in Europe. We are all aware of the supply difficulties for pharmaceuticals, whose supply chain has already been severely disrupted by coronavirus and the war in Ukraine, with dependence on Asian producers in particular coming into focus. Of course, there are also positive signs here, such as Pfizer's investment in a new production facility in Rhineland-Palatinate or the expansion of the Pfaffenhofen site into an innovation center for the Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo. However, all the levers must now be set in motion, all the screws must be turned so that Germany becomes more attractive as a pharmaceutical location or regains its former attractiveness. The glory of past years, "Germany is the pharmacy of the world", has long since faded, and we are currently a long way from that. The EU's pharmaceutical strategy sets important cornerstones to sustainably strengthen the industry's competitiveness and innovative capacity. The Medical Research Act from the BMG aims in the same direction to improve the framework conditions for the pharmaceutical industry.

Representing interests!

And what is the pharmaceutical industry's representative body doing? The second unsuccessful merger of the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI) and the Federal Association of Drug Manufacturers (BAH) has initially resulted in two associations as independent organizations once again. While the BPI scores with its strengths, the BAH is embarking on a process of structural and personnel renewal. The new name is essential: the BAH is to become "Pharma Deutschland", which implies a claim to absolute authority and the sovereignty of an overall representation of interests. We will have to wait and see whether the associations will succeed in all they have set out to do.  It remains regrettable that pharma cannot speak with one voice, despite its different interests.

I have touched on a few industry topics, but in my "press review" they only form a small part of the daily reporting. I am therefore very interested in how you keep yourself informed and which topics are particularly important to you. Write to me, I look forward to your feedback.

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Natascha de Raad
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