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EFPIA response to EPSCO discussion on access to medicines and medical devices for a stronger and resilient EU

Health features prominently on the agenda of this week’s EPSCO Council meeting, including the Portuguese Council conclusions on access to medicines and medical devices for a stronger and resilient EU.
 
We share the goal of faster, more equitable access to medicines across Europe. We welcome the Council’s call for Member States and the Commission to facilitate the dialogue between all Member States, patients and consumers, health professionals, industry and academia in the pharmaceutical and medical device areas, taking into account existing mechanisms.[1]
 
Commenting on the publication of the Council Conclusions, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said. “The Conclusions highlight the essential role of medicines and medical devices in the health systems and the need to ensure their adequate and continuous availability in all EU Member States, in particular in smaller markets[2]. Recent data from the EFPIA WAIT indicator report showed that across Europe, patients can wait between 4 months and 2.5 years to get access to the same medicine[3]. To really address barriers and delays to access across Europe we need to do three things; build a clear picture of the access to medicines landscape, secondly, develop an evidence-based, common understanding of the root causes of barriers and delays to access and finally, the co-creation of solutions with all stakeholders.” 
 
Improving the efficiency, speed and quality of Health Technology Assessment through the adoption of joint clinical assessments is one example of a co-created solution that could lead to faster, more equitable access. The Conclusions recognise the progress achieved in cross-border HTA collaboration with EUnetHTA. This collaboration has contributed to the cooperation on joint clinical assessment and joint scientific consultations of medicinal products, IVD and medical devices.[4] However, EFPIA remains concerned that the compromise being proposed will lead to an inefficient, unpredictable and duplicative system of joint clinical assessments and further delay access for patients at a time when science is radically changing treatment paradigms and outcomes for patients. Now more than ever, Europe needs to speak with a coherent voice on clinical evidence in the best interests of patients and our healthcare systems.
 
The conclusions also invites Member States and the Commission to exchange ideas on payment mechanisms for innovative products.[5] To contribute proactively on the discussion around possible solutions, EFPIA shared an overview of which New Pricing and Payment Methods are being used across Europe as opportunities to accelerate patient access, allowing payers to manage evidential uncertainty, spread the upfront cost and thus alleviate financial pressure on healthcare budgets, whilst providing sufficient incentives for innovation.
 
Nathalie went on to say. “The co-creation, adoption and transparency of novel pricing and payments models is just one part of EFPIA and its members’ wider pledge to help address delays and barriers to patients getting access to new treatments. By taking a more holistic and inclusive approach, agreeing on access barriers and co-creating new, flexible and collaborative solutions we can create faster and more equitable access to medicines across Europe. In partnership, we can transform the way we think, manage and resource healthcare for the benefit of patients.”
 
[1]6. P 6. Council Conclusions on Access to medicines and medical devices for a Stronger and Resilient EU
[2]8. P 6. Council Conclusions on Access to medicines and medical devices for a Stronger and Resilient EU
[3]Slide 9, https://efpia.eu/media/602652/efpia-patient-wait-indicator-final-250521.pdf
[4]42. P 15. Council Conclusions on Access to medicines and medical devices for a Stronger and Resilient EU
[5]47. P 15. Council Conclusions on Access to medicines and medical devices for a Stronger and Resilient EU
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