Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (25)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

20 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will detail his plans to ensure job retention and creation in the pharmaceutical sector in view of the fact that a series of major patents come to an end in the coming year. [4130/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

Over many years, Ireland's pharmaceutical strategy has been to win leading company investment and to diversify the breath of operations over multiproduct sites including associated services and development of new compounds. Ireland has been enormously successful in attracting eight of the global major players and the world's number one biotechnology company to Ireland. In addition, Ireland has a large number of companies outside of the top ten who manufacture and successfully export from Ireland. IDA Ireland has focused on biopharmaceuticals which represent the next wave of opportunity in the industry and it has successfully attracted and developed globally leading programmes from Allergan, Amgen, Centocor, Eli Lilly, Genzyme, Merck, and Pfizer as examples. Ireland now has a globally leading biopharmaceutical cluster in the next generation of Pharmaceutical products.

In accordance with its Horizon 2020 Strategy, IDA Ireland continues to attract leading investment in the pharmaceutical industry and, in the last 2 years, has attracted manufacturing companies of the quality of Warner Chilcott, Biomarin, Alkermes, Sangart and one of the world's leading generic manufacturers, Mylan. This is in addition to major on-going investment by existing companies.

From across its existing companies, IDA Ireland continues to win large scale investments in product development and capability building to take on new product mandates. Ireland already has successful generic manufacturers such as Clonmel Healthcare, Ranbaxy, Wockhardt, Teva and Rowa. These companies have operated successfully from Ireland competing with low cost competition for many years. IDA Ireland has assured me that it continues to operate an extensive programme of business and site transformation, working with all its manufacturing sites and Pharma Chemical Ireland, the pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing arm of IBEC.

I am aware that a series of major patents will expire in the coming year and that patent expiry can result in reduced selling prices for pharmaceutical companies. However, manufacturing location decisions are rarely made on a single product basis and companies also consider factors such as quality, safety, competence, costs and tax. In addition, transferring production lines from one pharmaceutical site to another is a complex undertaking and cannot be done easily. Multinational companies practice optimal site loading to ensure high efficiency and productivity within a global plant network.

Whether available as a generic or a brand, global companies strive to ensure that the products they produce are produced to the highest international standards. Ireland retains an exemplary global record in this regard with an excellent regulator in the Irish Medicines Board and with much improved competitiveness through wage reduction and restraint which is helping Ireland to compete with lower cost locations.

The overall export performance of the sector, therefore, is multifactorial and whilst there are challenges with regard to patent expiration, IDA Ireland is succeeding in renewing its patent protected volumes through winning new product mandates in small and large molecule manufacture. The future export performance of the BioPharma industry will be a reflection of all of these drivers of activity and the flexibility of the Irish operating environment to support continuous improvement and transformation.