The source of their ire: a proposal that would shave two years off the amount of time new medicines have the market to themselves. A shorter exclusivity period means earlier competition from unbranded competitors, leading to lower drug prices — and lower profits.

To make their case, these business executives are playing on the fear that Europe is being left behind: with the next new cancer drug being developed in Boston or Beijing, and with European patients at the back of the line to receive it.

European lawmaker Susana Solís Pérez, who worked at pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson before entering politics, echoes this fear. ”I am afraid we will slowly but surely shift from being a leading powerhouse to a customer of innovation,” said the MEP, who is part of the centrist Renew Europe group.

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