Commission's initiatives in the field of Pricing and Reimbursement
The G10 High Level Group on Innovation and Provision of Medicines was the key political initiative in the field of pharmaceuticals under Commissioners Byrne (Health) and Liikanen (Industry). The Group of ten was intended to bring together the top decision-makers on medicines from the EU. The Group will discuss the major issues relevant to the right balance of health objectives and industry competitiveness in Europe, including provision of medicines to patients, the Single Market, competition, regulation and innovation. Its final report with the 14 recommendations can be found on our G10 thematic page for further information.
The key recommendations relating to pricing and reimbursement were:
- Recommendation 3: Timing of Reimbursement and Pricing Decisions
- Recommendation 4: Competitive Generic Market
- Recommendation 5 : Competitive Non-prescription Markets
- Recommendation 6: Full Competition for Medicines neither Purchased nor Reimbursed by the State
The Commission has responded to this set of Recommendations and proposed a follow-up in Communication COM (2003) 383 final .
The High Level Pharmaceutical Forum on Pricing and Reimbursement
The Pharmaceutical Forum brought together Ministers from all (27) European Member States, Representatives of the European Parliament, the Pharmaceutical industry, health care professionals, patients and insurance funds in a three years process. It was set up in 2006 by Commissioners Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry) and Kyprianou (Health). Commissioner Vassiliou stepped in for Commissioner Kyprianou as from 2008.
This Forum was a high-level political platform for discussion supported by a Steering Committee and three expert Working Groups. It aimed to improve the performance of the pharmaceutical industry in terms of its competitiveness and contribution to social and public health objectives. The 3 selected topics for the Working Groups were (1) Information to Patients, (2) Relative Effectiveness and (3) Pricing and Reimbursement.
The key task of the Working Group on Pricing and Reimbursement was to examine pricing and reimbursement mechanisms to support Member States fulfilling their commitment towards the G10 recommendations, as well as towards the public health objectives of offering equal access to medicines at an affordable overall cost. Several factors have generated significant changes in the pricing and reimbursement mechanisms of most Member States during the past few years: raising expenditure on medicines, inequity of access to medicines in Europe and the call for early access to innovative medicines. This Working Group tried to identify, explore and exchange alternative mechanisms that can help Member States answer these different challenges. The Group and the Forum came to its conclusions in October 2008 and it will now be up to each Member State to see how to apply these mechanisms.
The High Level Pharmaceutical Forum on Relative Effectiveness
The High Level Pharmaceutical Forum also included a Working Group on Relative Effectiveness. This group aimed to support Member States in applying relative effectiveness systems in order to allow containment of pharmaceutical costs as well as a fair reward for innovation. Relative effectiveness assessment systems are relatively new for many Member States and rather complex. Nevertheless, the outcome of relative effectiveness assessments is promising as they will help to allow the identification of the most valuable medicines, both in terms of clinical efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and will help set a fair price for these medicines. The Working Group brought together the experiences of different Member States and of industry in order to further develop this promising field.
The follow-up in the field of relative effectiveness and health technology assessments is led by the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.