Shortening the WAIT - Patient Access to Medicines in Europe

Disparities in the time it takes for patients to access new medicines in different EU Member States are increasing. Published today, the most comprehensive EFPIA WAIT Indicator Survey to date (See fig 1) found that the average time to reimbursement for innovative treatments across EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries continues to be as long as 511 days. Patients in Germany wait around 133 days to access new medicines compared to patients in Romania that endure a wait of more than 899 days.  

The report underlines the patient access inequities within Europe. There remain significant differences across countries in the number of new medicines that are available at a point in time and typically, patients in Central and Eastern Europe and from smaller Member States wait the longest to access new treatments.

Figure 1

Speaking about the report, EFPIA Director General Nathalie Moll said. “For patients and health systems the situation is untenable. After years of research and development in areas of unmet need, companies
want their medicines to reach patients as quickly as possible. We believe it’s time for change”. 
Over the past two years, EFPIA has documented the causes of access inequalities, finding there are 10 interrelated factors that explain unavailability and delay. An analysis by Charles River Associates, also published today, concludes that barriers and delays are rooted in medicines access systems and processes in Member States and the corresponding impact on commercial decision-making.  
EFPIA believes that faster, more equitable access across Europe is an achievable goal. It requires a shared understanding of the barriers and delays as well as concrete commitments from industry, the EU and Member States to facilitate change in partnership. Next week, EFPIA will be sharing detailed proposals that seek to reduce inequalities and explore models, for discussion with stakeholders, to make medicines prices better reflect both the value they deliver for patients and societies and the economic conditions of individual countries. As the reasons patients wait longer for medicines in different European countries are multifactorial, we believe that only by working together we can deliver faster, more equitable access for patients across Europe.