ARTICLE | Regulation

Innovation on trial

April 11, 2005 7:00 AM UTC

In the 1990s, Germany was quick to hand out large amounts of money to create a biotech industry as part of its efforts to build a more knowledge-based economy. Yet the country has put policies in place that make selling drugs in Germany increasingly unattractive. The latest hurdle is the Institut fuer Qualitaet und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, or IQWiG, a benefits assessment watchdog through which the government aims to unmask specious claims of innovation by drug developers.

Over the last decade, the German government has undertaken several major attempts to reform its healthcare system through heavy cutbacks on drug prices. While that hasn’t yet hurt German biotech companies, few of which have drugs on the market, the results have devastated the nation’s pharmaceutical industry. German pharma, once hailed as the "pharmacy of the world," has almost disappeared through relocations, restructurings and mergers. ...