* Dekkers says such pressure threatens innovation
* Says pressure in U.S. is not as great as in Germany
* Says pharmaceutical firms' R&D model under threat
By Ros Krasny
Sept 19 Pressure from governments to lower drug
prices risks undermining medical innovation, Bayer AG's
chief executive said on Wednesday, echoing complaints
of other drug company executives.
Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives' Club,
Marijn Dekkers said there was "tremendous pressure" on
drugmakers to lower prices.
"The danger of pushing the prices of prescription drugs
down, down, down is that at some point the business model of
developing these drugs will lose its attractiveness," he said.
Although many governments involved in setting drug prices
face budget pressures, Dekker said that it was easy to attack
pharmaceutical companies rather than focus on more complex
methods of controlling health care costs.
"Here (in the United States) the balance is quite good," he
said, speaking to reporters after his speech, "but in Germany it
is more of a problem."
Drug companies are also facing increasing pressure from
generic competition as they lose patent protection on some of
their biggest selling products.
On Monday, Bayer said an Indian patents appeals board
rejected its petition to block the entry of a generic version of
its cancer drug Nexavar.
"India is becoming very reluctant to respect IP
(intellectual property) for Western companies, and that's a
challenge for us," Dekker said.
Last week the company said it had agreed to buy Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's U.S. animal health
operations for up to $145 million.
Dekkers has said in the past he will try to boost the
group's healthcare and crop protection and genetically modified
seeds units through acquisitions, but that organic growth is its
most important priority.
On Wednesday, he said that Bayer has "a very strong
financial foundation" and "good cash flow" but is not angling
for an increase in its credit rating, which is currently