The Business Week recently ran an article supported by data from Standard&Poors (link) about the slim prospects of the European pharmaceutical pipeline.
In 2007, European companies launched only a handful of new drugs, and the outlook for 2008 isn't expected to be much better (so far it's been US pharmas that carried the torch). The poor research and development output comes at a particularly bad time for pharmaceutical companies, as they scramble to compensate for revenues lost to generics when their key products lose patent protection.
According to the article, analysts believe that in 2008, FDA approvals are less likely to be a catalyst for news—good or bad—simply because not many EU pharmaceutical companies have important products up for review. Add to that an INCREASE in FDA vigilance and even outreach efforts to inspect foreign countries (though I am sure that is not primarily aimed at Europe) and you have a recipe for an approval draught.
This goes back to the issues that big pharma faces in terms of lead generation for their pipelines. Are there more acqusitions in the works that would shore up weak leads, e.g. the GSK-Sirtris acquisition?