Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry
Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer
Chapter 6: Intangible Assets in the European Health Industry: The Case of the Pharmaceutical Sector
Patrizio Bianchi and Sandrine Labory 1 INTRODUCTION A report to the European Commission (Gambardella et al., 2000) argues that the European drug industry is losing competitiveness with the USA, although there are diﬀerences among EU countries. In particular, the EU is lagging behind in its ability to generate, organize and sustain innovative processes and appears less able to translate R&D into commercial success, partly owing to a strategy of reliance on external inputs such as licences from international companies, pricing policies or peculiarities of the public regulatory and health care systems, rather than a strategy of reliance on own R&D and innovation. The European market is more fragmented and less competitive (prices do not fall after patent expiry) than the US one, European ﬁrms having to rely more on their domestic market to sell their products than on the whole European one. Parallel to this, a report to the European Commission by the High Level Expert Group on the Intangible Economy (HLEG, 2000) argues that a key element of competitivity has become the exploitation of intangible investments such as R&D, proprietary know-how, employees’ skills, world networks and brands and especially the capacity to combine external and internal sources of knowledge. Buigues et al. (2000) stress that intangibles such as R&D, marketing, advertising software and training, are growing in importance and have transformed the sources of competitiveness, so much so that public policies should change. They claim that public policies should shift focus towards sustaining intangible...
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