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Pharmaceutical industry needs stable EU-Switzerland relations: Insights from Roche and Interpharma representative Nathalie Stieger

Roche and Interpharma representative Nathalie Stieger on the relationship between Switzerland and the EU

Nathalie Stieger is Head of Governmental Affairs at the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Board Member of the Interpharma Association. 


During the conference, she emphasized the fact that International pharmaceutical companies such as Roche are critical of the ending of negotiations 2021 between the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. She also pointed out the great importance not only for Roche, but for the entire industry, of having secure access to the EU's internal labour market and research. These are factors that have left many companies concerned that talks towards an agreement have made little progress to date.


The access to EU's talents for the swiss industry

The issue of talent is one of the most important, said Nathalie. Roche employs 14,500 people in Switzerland, 14 per cent of whom are cross border commuters from Germany and 10 per cent from France. “We have to be able to hire the best specialists,” she said. Among others, the company operates production sites in Switzerland that are also dependent on energy security.


Research & development purposes

Another aim is to optimize conditions for research and development on site – an area in which Roche invests four billion Swiss francs a year in Switzerland alone. According to Nathalie, data is playing an increasingly important role. For a global player, it is essential to be able to participate in corresponding initiatives in the EU, the USA or China. Referring to the Roche Towers in Basel – now a landmark in the city – she even said: “The next Roche data tower could very well be built in the USA or China.”



Roche is firmly rooted in Switzerland, the country in which it was founded. Switzerland offers a number of advantages, such as a dynamic life sciences cluster with excellent research institutions and innovative companies. Nevertheless, Switzerland is a small market for Roche and Europe losing competitiveness, according to Nathalie Stieger. She explained: “Today, it is no longer about national egoisms, but about how European countries can work together to survive in the global competitive market.”


Julie SOUM

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