Nathalie Stieger  at Coface Switzerland CRCNathalie Stieger  at Coface Switzerland CRC

The pharmaceutical industry needs stable relations between the European Union and Switzerland

Nathalie Stieger, Head of Governmental Affairs at Roche and Board Member at Interpharma, underscores the significance of secure access to the EU labor market and research. Talent acquisition is vital, and Roche aims to optimize conditions for research and development.

Nathalie Stieger was a speaker at our last Country Risk Conference in Zurich. During her presentation, she pointed out the fact that international pharmaceutical companies such as Roche are criticising the end of the negotiations in 2021 between the EU and Switzerland. She also highlighted the great importance not only for Roche, but for the entire pharmaceutical 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.”