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Jobs moving to the US


Oct 13, 1999
Some good job relocation news

In the Brussels Report of the April issue of Pharmaceutical Technology Europe,1 Albedo stated that despite of the European Union's (EU's) wish to keep pharmaceutical and biotechnology development moving in the right direction, things are not going according to plan. This is hardly surprising given that the EU's answer to most problems in the industry is to write another piece of legislation. However, this only achieves the opposite effect and forces EU companies to relocate - mainly to the US.

Indications during the last 5 years suggest that many of the big pharmaceutical companies have moved their research and development (R&D) units to the US, leaving Europe with mainly small-sized companies.2 No reasons have been provided for the moves, but the US must offer something that Europe does not. This article briefly considers the possible reasons why large pharmaceutical companies are relocating from Europe to the US.

Europe is not short of highly qualified scientists and salaries are not significantly different compared with the US.3 The market size of both is similar, although Europe will perhaps has a slight advantage after enlagement in 2004. Prices paid by health servers and insurance companies in Europe are lower than in the US, making Europe less profitable to big pharmaceutical companies. Perhaps relocation is being caused by regulations.


Diamond Member
Feb 16, 2000
Yeah if you have Phd....getting a job in the USA isn't too tough.

At least not yet anyways.


Jan 20, 2001
This writer is an idiot . . .
In the UK, another regulatory body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), deters product marketing because it evaluates if a drug is good value for money. NICE was established to end 'postcode prescribing' in the UK, where treatments are available from one health authority but not another. This, however, discourages pharmaceutical companies to bring new drugs to market in case they fail NICE's evaluation. Many other EU countries are now looking with interest at this new barrier to registration, which could save them money.
That's another way of saying in America it doesn't matter if a drug makes sense . . . it can still come to market and be sold . . . which is part of the reason year over year drug costs having been increasing 14% since the early 90s. For instance, many drug companies push their calcium channel blockers (CCB) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) for high blood pressure but most people with emerging hypertension (borderline) can correct it by losing a few pounds. If not, a diuretic will often do the trick. Annual price difference = $600 per year per patient.

A tiny minority of patients will notice the difference between generic Claritin (loratidine)$24/mo and Clarinex (desloratidine) $67/mo. And if it's your home causing the problem you can probably make it on Benadryl (diphenhydramine).

NICE would be nice for the American taxpayer footing the bill.

Every country in the EU has a well proven system of clinical practice to evaluate new products, but this will no longer be allowed when GCP is harmonized across the EU by directive EU.2001/10/EC, which will require further inspections and additional staff. As a result, many small companies and biotech start ups will no longer be able to afford to undertake clinical research.
This is already true in America and every other developed country. Biotechs NEVER bring a drug through clinical trials. They always partner with big pharma. This guy is a nimrod. Even big biotechs tend to partner with big pharma. To take a drug from concept up to clinical trials takes 10 million ++ . . . depending on how novel the concept may be. Clinical trials increase the costs by an order of magnitude. What startup company has that kind of cheddar.

The most recently approved antipsychotic, Abilify (aripiprazole), was developed by Otsuka pharmaceuticals from Japan . . . they are a very good company but there's no way they could have fulfilled US requirements for entry to market without Bristol-Myers-Squibb footing the bill.

It is said that Europe subsidizes pharmaceutical R&D with grants. However, with the exception of the UK Department of Trade and Industry SMART Awards, this is not strictly true. The EU's Framework Programme Six grants are so limited and difficult to obtain they are only suitable for academia.
In comparison, the US offers funding for research via its National Institute for Health for cancer research and other diseases and the various states can provide funding to keep jobs in the state.2 Lenders in Europe generally do not take risks until a project is reaching maturity and even then rarely lend to small manufacturers.
This is another way of saying taxpayers foot the bill but encourage private industry to collect the profit . . . even benefits do not appreciably accrue to the society at-large.

The EU must realize that large pharmaceutical companies grow from smaller companies. During the last 10 years, there have been large numbers of redundancies in the industry caused by pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions, but a reduction in the number of start-ups has meant that people have had to relocate to the US to find work. This vicious circle is causing the EU pharmaceutical industry to shrink.
Yeah right. Pfizer has gobbled up Warner-Lambert, Parke-Davis, and Pharmacia-Upjohn in the past three years. Large pharmaceutical companies grow by eating other companies. The US government has doubled the NIH budget over the past 5 years so why not move operations to take advantage of American taxpayer generosity and weaker labor protections?

Oh and your title is misleading since the number of jobs migrating to the US is dwarfed by cuts after consolidation. Furthermore, companies are more likely to invest in quality talent from foreign biotechs/pharma than hire Americans.



No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
Totally wrong, this writer either lost a job himself or a relative over there. We have a large Pharma Company here that has laid a ton of people off an may possibly close up shop here completely and only operate out of their Ireland HQ's location.