Reflections on the present and future of healthcare

Two things struck me reading yesterday’s article from Carmen Paun in Politico on cross-border pricing initiatives.

First it underlined that patients’ access to medicines is a goal we all share.  

We strongly believe that Member States’ collaboration on pricing, reimbursement and access related issues should lead to broader and/or accelerated access to new medicines for patients.

That means any collaboration initiatives should replace, rather than create new barriers. They need to guarantee confidentiality of pricing and reimbursement agreements and make most sense when countries of similar geography, economics, health and social needs are grouped together. 

The Commission’s recent HTA proposals, in particular for joint clinical assessment of new medicines, has given another opportunity for cross-border collaboration, preventing duplication and supporting access.  An initiative to which EFPIA lends its full support. 

Secondly, the article underlined the crucial role that IP and incentives have played in the pricing landscape.  

When the advent of a new medicine for HepC in 2014 transformed the outlook for patients from a life time a treatment often culminating in a liver transplant to a complete cure with a twelve week course of medicine, much of the headlines that year focused on the cost of the drug, irrespective of the costs of multiple hospital admissions over many years and the €248,000 estimated cost of a transplant.  

In 2018, the estimated cost of HepC cures is less than half of that of the 2014 level.  This dramatic decrease, delivering undeniable value for patients and our healthcare systems is down to one thing – new medicines becoming available, competition driven by a framework of incentives that give innovators the assurance they need to invest in developing and delivering competitive new medicines.  Europe’s incentives framework will remain critical to ensure and inspire new innovation and drive competition having a dramatic impact on price and sustainability of our healthcare systems.