BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - The pharmaceutical industry sees structural problems in Germany. "We have a bad quartet of excessive bureaucracy, a shortage of skilled workers, high energy costs and a crumbling infrastructure," said Wolfgang Große Entrup, Managing Director of the German Chemical Industry Association, to the German Press Agency ahead of a "pharma trip" by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens). In addition, pharmaceutical policy must become much more innovation-friendly again. "Generics production in Germany must also become worthwhile again. The government's first triple steps on antibiotics and children's medicines were good, but more must follow."

Habeck sets off on Monday on a two-day trip to pharmaceutical sites in Hesse, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. He will visit large corporations such as Merck as well as medium-sized companies. According to the ministry, Habeck wants to get an idea of the challenges facing the industry. The aim is to find out how the conditions for the healthcare industry in Germany could be improved.

The German Chemical Employers' Association explained that the chemical and pharmaceutical industry is struggling with disadvantages such as high energy costs, rising labor costs and escalating bureaucracy. "We are losing competitiveness and will have produced no more in 2023 than in 2005. In parallel to these challenges, our industry must invest in transformation. Sustainability, climate-neutral production and digitalization are absolutely relevant to business. It is essential that the transformation succeeds and that the structural change does not become a structural break." Above all, a reliable energy policy and less bureaucracy for companies, better education, modern infrastructure, more digitalization and long-term sustainable social security systems are needed.

Federal government wants to strengthen the location

The German government adopted a new pharmaceutical strategy for the industry at the end of last year. The aim is to make Germany more attractive again as a research and production location for the pharmaceutical industry. Among other things, faster approval procedures and unbureaucratic approvals are intended to strengthen pharmaceutical research.

In the past, pharmaceutical production has increasingly concentrated on a small number of production sites, particularly in China and India. This development has led to greater dependency. There should be incentives to establish pharmaceutical production facilities in Germany, for example for antibiotics or cancer drugs.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs stated that during the coronavirus pandemic, there were supply bottlenecks in the basic supply of important medicines, such as fever syrup for children and antibiotics. These have by no means been resolved. Supplying patients with these important medicines is essential. Dependencies on important active ingredients should be reduced. Among other things, the ministry is currently working on adapting public procurement law - this should make an important contribution to the establishment of manufacturing facilities in the EU.

Große Entrup said that the initial proposals of the pharmaceutical strategy to strengthen the domestic location were good and a great opportunity. "The coalition must now implement these consistently and with lasting effect. Pharmaceutical research and production belong to Germany. Making both competitive and thus sustainable is not only our expectation, but a social necessity."/hoe/DP/zb