Italy's fine chemicals industry organisation, Afaquim, is organising a conference in September aimed at coordinating the efforts of European active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) suppliers in the face of increasing competition from the Far East.
The new conference - called APIs Europe - has been modelled on the Drug, Chemical & Allied Trades Association (DCAT) conference held in New York, US, every March, according to Afaquim president Alberto Mangia.
"The fine chemicals world has been evolving rapidly during the last 10 years," he said. "Many productions have moved to the Far East, following a trend already experimented in other segments of the industry, in permanent search of more economical manufacturing sites."
Europe can fight back by emphasising quality, suggested Mangia. "Europe is the cradle of chemistry, its cultural legacy, and - specifically - its more than half a century experience in modern production of APIs strictly according to current GMPs and ecological compliance, still make Europe the first choice for high quality active ingredients," he claimed.
There is no question that European API manufacturers are feeling the effects of competition, a point made strongly by Hovione chief executive Guy Villax at last year's CPhI meeting in Frankfurt. Villax, who believes the European sector is being hamstrung by regulatory double standards that make it possible to base purchase decision on price rather than quality. Villax is among the speakers at the APIs Europe conference.
"Quality is a value which cannot compromise with a short sighted policy aiming just to price reduction," said Mangia, adding that the leading pharmaceutical industries around the world are sensitive to this concept.
"Our aim is to deliver a strong message to the whole market adhering to the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) that the source of choice for high quality and right price APIs is still Europe."
APIs Europe will take place 14-16 September in Villa d'Este, Como Lake, Italy.