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LONDON — The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited proposed update for how the continent regulates drugs, following through on its intention to cut exclusivity periods for medicines while incentivizing companies to quickly launch their therapies in all member countries.

The legislation, the first major update to the EU’s pharma policy in two decades, is sure to face challenges from the drug industry and some of its political allies. Biopharma companies have already objected to a proposed reduction in the time medicines have the market to themselves before generics are allowed, saying such a change could drive them to invest in other parts of the world. Some have even warned that the continent could miss out on medications if companies feel they can’t make steady returns.


But European officials said the proposed changes would move the bloc away from a “one-size-fits-all” system to one that rewards companies that make medicines that serve public health health needs.

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