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Europe – an unpopular location?

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Europe – an unpopular location?

Why national production facilities are needed

Chakib Lemzouri, Head of Health Policy and Tender at Bracco Imaging Deutschland GmbH (Image source: Photogenika)

More and more European companies are considering moving their production abroad. According to a survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2023, a third of all industrial companies surveyed were considering moving or relocating their capacities due to energy policy in Germany. “Pharmaceutical companies’ production facilities are often drawn to countries with lower energy costs outside of Europe. As a result, the European supply of medicines is increasingly dependent on long supply chains. If delivery problems arise, there is a risk that patient safety can no longer be guaranteed,” explains Chakib Lemzouri, Head of Health Policy at Bracco Imaging Deutschland GmbH.

Long delivery routes endanger patient care

Above all, high energy costs, but also the increasing shortage of skilled workers and often slow bureaucracy in this country make relocating production to Asia, for example, more attractive for many companies. “Many patients and their relatives in Germany have already felt the effects of the resulting long supply chains in recent years, when, among other things, fever juices for children or cancer drugs were missing. Delivery bottlenecks for contrast agents also increased, for example when the port of Shanghai was closed in 2022 due to the lockdown and an international manufacturer was unable to deliver as planned,” explains Lemzouri and adds: “And even now there are many supply bottlenecks in Germany.”

Strengthen production locations in Europe

In order to counteract bottlenecks, Germany and Europe would have to become more independent of global supply chains. “The Bracco Group has a total of seven contrast agent production facilities – the largest of which is based in Singen in Germany. Another four are in Switzerland and Italy. In addition, two of our plants for the production of active ingredients are located in Europe. We don’t want to relocate all of these production facilities in order to save costs. In our opinion, only short supply chains can really guarantee the supply of contrast media to hospitals and doctors in Europe and thus strengthen patient safety,” says Lemzouri. “Remaining in Europe should not entail economic disadvantages for European production facilities.”

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create incentives

It is now very difficult for contrast medium manufacturers to operate economically in Germany. Not only has production become expensive, but statutory health insurance companies also want to pay less and less for contrast media. In some federal states, they select the cheapest provider through exclusive tenders, who is then the only one in the respective KV region to be awarded the contract and with whom a discount agreement is concluded. “We believe it is irresponsible that only the lowest price plays a role in the tenders. Aspects such as quality, patient safety, environmental factors, production locations and supply chain security also need to be taken into account,” emphasizes Lemzouri.

The expert demands: “Politicians must urgently do something about the structural problems. Incentives need to be created. For example, providers with national production should be given preference over manufacturers with production outside Europe. The instrument of exclusive tenders is exactly wrong when the market concentration is as high as that which exists for contrast media. For this reason and against the background of the ruling of the Federal Social Court of September 21, 2023, file number B 3 KR 4/22 R, we call on the health insurance companies to immediately end the exclusive tenders and the discount agreements concluded and to use one of the many contractual options, that the legislature makes available to us.”

Further information at www.bracco.com/de-de

Image source: Photogenics

Bracco Imaging Deutschland GmbH from Konstanz is part of the Italian Bracco Group, which, as a manufacturer of contrast agents, is one of the world‘s leading companies in the field of diagnostic imaging for X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound. With three research centers in Italy, Switzerland and the USA, research and development are an important part of their work. In addition to Germany, production also takes place in Italy, Switzerland, Canada, China and Japan. In addition to contrast agents and medical devices, the offering includes various services that support medical professionals in optimizing diagnostics. Overall, the global sales of the Bracco Group, which has 3,600 employees, amounted to around 1.4 billion euros in 2020.

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Company contact
Bracco Imaging Deutschland GmbH
Chakib Lemzouri
Max-Stromeyer-Straße 116
78467 Constance
07531 3631-130

Press contact
Borgmeier Public Relations
Vanessa Köhnke
Long Street 112
27749 Delmenhorst
04221 9345-333

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